Digital Signatures Alone Do Not Replace The Act Of Signing

June 27, 2000

Electronic signatures allow people to duplicate a paper-based signing act on-line.

Montreal, Qc, June 28, 2000 — Digital signature technology won't allow people to duplicate a paper-based signing act on-line. Only electronic signatures do, Silanis Technology Inc. President Tommy Petrogiannis announced today.

"There's a lot of confusion in the market today regarding the capabilities of these two technologies," said Petrogiannis, a developer of electronic approval management solutions. "Contrary to what its name may suggest, a digital signature doesn't contain a visual image of a person's handwritten signature, nor does it secure communications beyond point to point transactions."

When a document is "digitally signed"' using digital signature public/private key technology, it is the equivalent of placing a document in an electronic envelope and sealing it.

"If I digitally sign a document and send it to you, you can be assured that the document is authentic," said Petrogiannis. "But once you open it, my digital signature is separated from the document thus giving you the freedom to modify the document. This doesn't meet signing expectations." An electronic signature, on the other hand, maintains the integrity of a document as it is forwarded to any number of people. It does this by permanently embedding a token along with the digital signature that compares the original document with the contents of the document each time it is opened by a recipient. If any change is detected, the electronic signature becomes visibly invalidated.

In addition, an electronic signature includes the image of a person's handwritten signature or some form of visible mark, like a time stamp, that illustrates a person's consent, understanding or responsibility towards the document's contents. Because the graphical image is secured within the electronic signature, it is permanently linked to the exact contents of a document so that it can't be transferred into another document or used fraudulently on the Internet.

"Electronic signatures meet users' signing expectations because they incorporate a handwritten signature that visually informs a recipient that a document has been signed," said Petrogiannis. "More importantly, they are attached to a document just like wet ink on paper so they can be forwarded by anyone and still maintain document authenticity."

Silanis ApproveIt, a leading electronic approval management solution, provides even greater security by permanently embedding e-signatures into the documents so they can never be deleted.

About Silanis

Founded in 1992, Silanis Technology Inc. develops ApproveIt, the industry's first and only multi-signature electronic approval management software. Over 400 organizations use Silanis products in government, business, insurance, medical, and health care sectors, including the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, TRW, Williams Group, Nationwide Insurance, and National City Bank. Silanis software is recognized for its mature feature set, security, ease-of-use, and simple integration.