David Beckham Shows the Potential for Digital Signatures

Mary Ellen Power, November 7, 2013
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With millions of admirers around the world, it is probably fair to assume that a digital signature from David Beckham would be a highly prized and coveted possession. Known as much for his celebrity status as for his skills on the soccer field, Beckham is used to being in the spotlight and in what is believed to be a world first, his participation in an online signing of his new book drew attention from across the globe. According to the UK's Daily Mail, Becks was able to meet and greet his fans at the Facebook Digital Stadium in London - a virtual version of a traditional book signing hosted by the social network. Naturally, not everyone who wants a copy of his John Hancock will ever get the chance to meet the man in person, hence the need to create a digital signature session in a television studio in the capital city, with Beckham taking the time to answer pre-submitted questions and use his iPad to personalize copies of books with a provided stylus. Digital distribution According to the news source, the live event was streamed to fans through his own Facebook page, with a select few hundred in India, Brazil and New York City getting the chance to have a 30-second video chat with the former England soccer captain as he signed their digital copy of his latest autobiography. Some media commentators noted that the event itself felt more like a pre-scripted interview than a signing, but, according to TechRadar, the success of the venture was not in the answers that he gave, but the fact that he was able to highlight the potential for digital signatures as a means of memorabilia. Facebook has tried to connect fans with their idols in the past, but this was the first time that the company used a custom-built application to send Beckham's autograph directly to an individual's timeline. "I think when fans get to connect with who they look up to it's one of those moments that you can't explain," said Glenn Miller, head of entertainment partnerships for Facebook Europe, told the news source. "And I think with this type of technology you actually got to see it happen through technology, versus sitting there seeing it through, you know, sitting in a bookstore or just doing it through text and having someone like Beckham reply to you through Facebook." While David Beckham may be possibly the first A-lister to personalize his work digitally, he is unlikely to be the last. Though in this instance the soccer star was merely capturing a digital image of his handwritten signature, it was not a true electronic signature as that uses digital signature technology (encryption/decryption) as the foundation to secure the data and verify the authenticity of a signed document. In short, businesses looking for an electronic signature application should ensure it is built on digital signature technology. Anyone wanting to find out more about this growth can download the Electronic Signature Security whitepaper for more information.