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The difference between electronic and digital signatures

What is the difference between electronic and digital signatures? Also, what exactly is an electronic signature?

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A digital signature is an electronic signature, but an electronic signature is not necessarily a digital signature.

According to the Electronic Signatures Act (full name The Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act), an electronic or e-signature is any "electronic sound, symbol or process" used to sign an electronic transaction.

A digital signature is a "secure" electronic signature which uses encryption and passwords to protect the integrity of the signature and guarantee the authenticity of the party who signed it.

For more information on this topic, visit these other resources:
Best Web Links: Digital Signatures
Ask the Expert: Digital signatures vs. electronic signatures

This was first published in August 2001

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