The use of digital signatures for various purposes is now gathering pace. This is because of the convenience it offers, from improved security and efficiency to user convenience. However, as a fairly new technology, various myths about digital signatures are still doing the rounds.
As a result, there is often confusion and misunderstanding about digital signatures. In this article we discuss some of the myths and the facts you need to know.
Digital Signatures are Invalid in a Court of Law
The first myth that often arises about digital signatures is their legality. There are still many people who think that conventional signatures are more binding. This is false. A digital signature has the same legality as a wet signature, and any document signed digitally is legally valid.
The application and practice of digital signatures in Indonesia has been regulated under Law Number 11, 2008 Article 11 Paragraph 1 and Government Regulation No. 71 / 2019 concerning the Implementation of Electronic Systems and Transactions.
The law makes digital documents fully valid in court both as evidence and as an administrational requirement during a trial, provided that the company or service provider owning the digital signature has been certified by the Ministry of Communication and Information of the Republic of Indonesia as evidenced by a service license.
The second myth concerns the security of digital documents that use digital signatures. Industry players and cybersecurity experts have rejected this myth, and have concluded that a digital signature is actually safer than a conventional signature found on paper documents.
The discussion of digital-signature security can be divided into two parts: physical security, and data-storage security. In terms of physical security, digital signatures are protected from document damage from moisture, fire, or getting torn, and will never get lost. This is because digital documents are stored automatically in a data center that is integrated with documents in PDF format.
In addition, the digital document is protected by an encryption system that can only be accessed by parties who have permission. The encryption can only be broken with a strict verification protocol. Nearly all e-signature service providers also use firewall systems and other protocols to prevent "intrusion" by other parties that could harm those who have permission.
Given the above, it is incorrect to say that digital signatures are unsafe to use. Instead, they have become a standard feature, thanks to their adherence to high-level security in order to maintain the confidentiality of user data and prioritize service convenience.
Digital signatures are difficult to implement
organizations or agencies to implement. Constraints in implementing new things often require habituation. The length of time for this habituation varies depending on how much effort is made to socialize and educate. But actually, it's easy to implement a digital signature.
The key to convincing people that digital signatures are simple to make lies in building good understanding. This can be done through regular education and training, especially in the public services sector. Digital signatures are easy to make when they are supported by the appropriate infrastructure.
Education, training and outreach will make implementing digital signatures easier in both the private and public service sectors.
For example, the socialization of digital signatures makes the bureaucratic process quicker and more accurate. Signing of important documents can take place immediately. So, the myth of applying digital signatures is difficult to apply is not quite right. This is because many agencies have started to switch to using digital signatures and continue to provide education to make them easy to implement.
Digital signatures are expensive
As well as the myth about being difficult to implement, the fourth myth that is often heard is the assumption that implementing a digital signature requires a high cost. But is this true? If we look carefully, we can see that using digital signatures is actually cheaper and more efficient.
Think about a conventional paper signature. You spend a lot of money just to prepare things, such as printing documents to signing and storing specifically. In addition, you have to physically meet the person whom you need to sign the document. So, if one document requires a fairly high cost, what if the company publishes multiple documents in one year? You’ve got it: the costs will be even higher.
The fees required to apply for a digital signature are generally the subscription fee for the digital certificate issuer and also the cost for the digital signature supporting equipment. These costs will get cheaper the more you use e-signatures. Compare that to using conventional signatures: the costs rise the more documents you publish.
Considering that digital documents do not need to be printed and can be sent over the internet, the myth that digital signatures are expensive is untrue.
All types of documents can be signed digitally
Another myth about digital signatures is that all types of documents can be signed electronically. This kind of assumption creates ambiguity, especially for the general public regarding digital-signature technology. Please note that the types of document which can accept digital signatures are regulated by law. In Indonesia, some examples of documents that can be signed electronically are:
Documents relating to contracts or agreements for individuals, agencies and companies;
Service cancellation notification documents for companies;
Travel documents for delivery of hazardous materials;
Letters and documents of insurance and banking as well as state agencies.
From these points, it can be concluded that not all documents can use a digital signature. This is especially the case if you don't cooperate with a digital signature service provider that has been certified and registered with the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology
Digital signatures as just a fad
The internet era has led to the emergence of many new technologies. Many new technologies, however, become trendy for a short while, and then stop and seem to vanish. Some people also assume that digital signatures will experience the same thing.
This myth seems inaccurate. This is because digital signatures are not merely a technological fad, but represent a real leap into the future, where digital signatures are assured, safe, comfortable, practical, and efficient.
Digital signatures are a change from the conventional signatures that people have been using for centuries. Today alone, more than 60 countries around the world have established legal provisions regarding the use of digital signatures. Numerous agencies and companies find them invaluable for achieving customer excellence.
Not only that, digital signatures also have a positive impact on environmental sustainability, by reducing the use of large amounts of paper. Where more paper is used, the more deforestation occurs. So, digital signatures are not just a trend, but they have actually replaced old unsafe habits, and become a solution to global problems.
Operation and management of electronic signatures is not easy
For beginners, using more than one digital signature in a document contract may sound daunting. It also takes more time to check one by one the existing signatures of the different signatories. In fact, this is not the case. This is because a digital signature is actually not as complicated as one might imagine when it is properly managed.
Nowadays, digital-signature service providers provide many of their best facilities and features to the public, including document-sharing facilities for different signatories at the same time even though different places in real time. The existing data will be saved automatically.
You can also trace back the signed document by using a special code. The code makes the digital-signature management process simpler, and you can quickly locate it when needed - without having to dismantle the document storage area, which can take a long time with a conventional signature. So, it can be concluded that digital signature management is not complicated if it is managed with a well-integrated system.
Digital signatures require special skills
The last myth is that digital signatures are considered to require special skills in their implementation. Simply put, the use of digital signatures does not require special skills. You only need to understand how this technology is applied in everyday activities - as with the process of signing, saving, and reusing them.
Meanwhile, for the most technical things you can entrust it to a digital-signature service provider that has been certified and has received official legality from the government. You don't have to think about how to build the infrastructure needed to implement e-signatures.
If this is the first time you have used one, the digital-signature service provider will also direct and provide insight into ways that make it easier for you to use it. That is why many successful companies use this technology because both employees and customers are involved in the education and training process on the use of digital signatures.
Those are some of the myths about digital signatures that often circulate in the community. An understanding of the existing myths and facts will make you wiser when considering the importance of digital signatures in various legal document processing needs.
To get more information about digital signatures from service providers, you can contact PT Indonesia Digital Identity (VIDA) as a partner to get the best digital signature service.