Skip to main content

Enabling compliance with the ESIGN Act of June 2000

Digital signing requires that the signer use a credential (such as a digital certificate) that is bound to his or her identity. Binding the identity of a signer to the credential that is used for signing creates assurance that the individual who is signing a document really is who they say they are. When an identity-based credential is used, the signature is considered non-repudiable and is legally binding.

IdenTrust issues certificates under various policies that are interoperable within federal, state and local governmental agencies, as well as certificates that are used for general purposes (publicly trusted).  

The ESIGN Act Authorizes the Use of Digital Signatures

The Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (ESIGN, Pub.L. 106–229, 114 Stat. 464, enacted June 30, 2000, 15 U.S.C. ch. 96) is a U.S. federal law passed by the U.S. Congress to facilitate the use of electronic records and electronic signatures in interstate and foreign commerce by ensuring the validity and legal effect of contracts entered into electronically.

Although every state has at least one law pertaining to electronic signatures, it is the federal law that lays out the guidelines for interstate commerce. The general intent of the ESIGN Act is spelled out in the very first section (101.a), that a contract or signature “may not be denied legal effect, validity, or enforceability solely because it is in electronic form”. This simple statement provides that electronic signatures and records are just as good as their paper equivalents, and therefore subject to the same legal scrutiny of authenticity that applies to paper documents. Learn more about the ESIGN Act.

Building a Foundation of Trust

The use of digital signatures is becoming more commonplace both in the workplace and for personal use. Implementation of digital signing allows organizations to streamline signature and approval processes, eliminate paper and establish an audit trail.

Through the deployment of identity-based certificates, your organization can be certain that you are transacting online business with the individual(s) who they claim to be. IdenTrust only issues digital certificates after completing a rigorous process that “vets” the identity of the applicant based on the personal and business information provided during the application process.  Essentially, a certificate is a credential, like a driver’s license or passport, and the process of obtaining the credential is comparable.

When a digital signature is created using an identity-based certificate, then that signature becomes non-repudiable.   Non-repudiation is the assurance that someone cannot deny something. Typically, non-repudiation refers to the ability to ensure that a party to a contract or a communication cannot deny the authenticity of their signature on a document or the sending of a message that they originated.

Learn more about the differences between electronic signing versus digital signing.

How Digital Signatures Are Created Using a Digital Certificate

Typically, documents that are submitted with a digital signature are created using the digital signature function that is incorporated into Adobe®.  View our PDF, Creating a Digital Signature.


If you are ready to purchase your IdenTrust certificate for digital signing, simply select BUY NOW and use our Certificate Selection Wizard to determine the best certificate for your needs.