Monday, April 25, 2011

Form and Reality: Binding Signatures and Notaries Public

Our legal system tends to operate on notarized signatures: you take a document to a notary public, present proof of identity, sign the document and the notary impresses her seal.  But these days it seems one could document a signing by technology:  use a video camera to record the proof of identity and the person signing. Of course, it's likely it will take a century or two to change the rules to use the new technology.

1 comment:

  1. Agreed. The Electronic Signatures Act was enacted 11 years ago, but you wouldn't know it in many fields, e.g. real estate. Basically, the more important the subject or the larger the loan amount, the more likely you are to need a handwritten ink signature. Then you also have some legal stuff like settlements and wills, that'll go on requiring signatures for another generation or so. Electronic court filing has largely done away with most notarized/signed court filings,and is why those annoying bike messengers went out of business. Notaries will likely be gone entirely by 2050. But nowadays most of us have completed credit card applications and applied for jobs online, which would've been unimaginablew a mere 20 years ago, so maybe they'll be gone even sooner.

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