Our industry-focused blog series is back. Following the recent blog on banking this time we're discussing government eSignatures. In this blog, we’re exploring specific electronic signature initiatives and laws, and the challenges governments face.
Government workers are some of the most paper-intensive users in the world. It makes many public sector departments ideal candidates to benefit from the deployment of eSignatures.
Government eSignature initiatives and laws
Electronic signatures have gained widespread adoption worldwide, with many governments leading the way in adoption and promoting their use. Electronic signatures offer several benefits for governments, including:
European Union’s eIDAS Regulation
The European Union (EU)’s eIDAS Regulation is one of the most significant initiatives promoting electronic signatures globally. eIDAS came into force in 2016. It provides a legal framework for recognising eSignatures, eSeals and electronic timestamps across all EU Member States.
eIDAS aims to establish a single market for electronic signatures within the EU. Its goal is simplifying cross-border transactions while ensuring their validity.
ESIGN and UETA in the United States
In the US, the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (ESIGN) and the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA) provide legal framework for using eSignatures.
ESIGN was passed in 2000 and recognises eSignatures as legally binding. At the same time, UETA was adopted by many states. It provides a uniform electronic transaction approach nationally.
These laws have helped encourage eSignature adoption beyond the government and have paved the way for further innovative digital initiatives.
Singapore’s Electronic Transactions Act (ETA)
Singapore’s ETA provides a legal framework for eSignatures and electronic transactions. It recognises electronic signatures as legally binding. The government actively promotes eSignature use and has invested in several initiatives to digitise public services.
IT Act in India
The Information Technology Act 2000 (IT Act) provides a legal framework for eSignatures. The government has used it as a foundation to establish digital signature initiatives, such as the Digital India program. This program aims to promote improving government services through technology.
Government eSignature benefits
Esignatures offer overwhelming benefits for governments (and organisations of all sizes), including:
- Enhanced security – Integrity and security are assured through SigningHub’s use of public key infrastructure (PKI). Its advanced cryptographic techniques generate and store electronic signatures so that they can’t be forged or tampered with.
- Interoperability – Electronic signature platforms, like SigningHub, support various file formats. It makes signing and verifying documents across different systems and jurisdictions effortless. It’s an ideal solution for cross-border transactions and ensures eSignatures are recognised and accepted globally.
- Paperless workflow – In paper-heavy industries, like government, eSignatures offer more than just flexibility. It enables businesses to reduce time spent on document workflow approval processes and enables flexibility throughout the workflow.
- Long-term document archival and validation – Documents using the highest level of eSignatures security – Qualified Electronic Signatures (QES) and Qualified eSeals - ensure governments can validate and store documents for decades.
- Compliance – Managers and stakeholders can quickly increase document approval speed, reduce non-compliance and leverage eIDs and eSeals to enact positive change.
Government eSignature adoption challenges
Until recently, there had been little change in how government bodies managed documents. This was partly due to prioritisation. After all, their primary focus is the services they provide to citizens - and in some cases, a lack of funding for new IT initiatives.
Despite the overwhelming benefits, government eSignature initiatives still face several challenges. One of the most significant challenges is ensuring eSignature security, integrity and validity.
Governments must make certain that electronic signatures are tamper-proof and cannot be replicated, forged or altered after signing. In addition, all documents that are electronically signed must comply with legal requirements and standards.
Another challenge is interoperability across different systems and platforms. This includes being compatible across various devices and accepted in different jurisdictions and legal systems.
Finally, and possibly the biggest hurdle, is user adoption. For successful eSignature adoption, governments must ensure citizens and businesses understand the benefits of these types of initiatives. Doing so involves education and awareness that eSignature platforms are easy to use and accessible to all.
Increasing government eSignature adoption with SigningHub
Global government usage of SigningHub has increased significantly. It’s high rate of adoption is because we are sensitive to the bureaucratic, legal and historical responsibilities associated with accurate record-keeping.
We understand that even the leanest public department must hold extensive evidence of what communication and documents contributed to new public measures and policies.
This understanding led us to design a solution that is easy to use, quick to embed itself within the workplace and extremely compliant with the latest developments in electronic identification.
Contact our team to discuss how adopting eSignatures can help streamline your business.