Signature verification systems are being used by government and private organizations to reduce dependency on paper, make transactions faster and more reliable. This new way of doing business has already been ratified by parliamentary bodies in the USA, India and the European Union.
Signature verifications systems may be key based or biometric based. In key based technology the signature is associated with a key which is kept at the sender’s computer. However, the security of such systems is dependent on the integrity of the sender’s computer. If the computer is hacked there is a risk that the key may be misused. Smart cards carry no such risk, and its portability makes it very useful for professionals on the go. Biometric signature verification systems use an electronic signature pad to record biometric traits like style of writing, pressure and keystroke. This data is analyzed with the help of electronic signature software and a template created. This template is later used to validate the signature.
This system is foolproof because no two signatures are alike, and it is almost impossible to copy another’s signature with any conviction. Recognizing this trait, the Indian government passed the Information Technology Act 2000 which addressed the following issues-
- Legal Recognition of Electronic documents
- Legal Recognition of Digital Signatures
- Offenses and contraventions
- Justice dispensation system for cybercrimes
This act caused a paradigm shift in how business was done in BFSI, health, real estate sectors; making transactions quicker and removing the influence of middlemen.
Some Case Studies
Indian Patent Office
The Indian patent office processes patents, trademarks and copyright applications on a daily basis, receiving thousands applications daily. The manual system that existed before was extremely tedious and unmanageable. Since the system was secretive it was open to manipulation and conjecture. The government recognizing the loopholes that existed in the system implemented an online system of submission, where each application was to be authenticated by a system of digital signature verification system. This made the process more streamlined and removed human intervention.
Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT)
The DGFT processes requests and issues import and export licenses, receiving thousands of applications every day. The manual system that existed before was prone to corruption, causing losses to the economy. The system was revamped, enabling users to file application online, without having to seek recourse to any middlemen. Each application was authenticated with the help of an electronic signature pad that records an individual’s unique biometric traits like style of writing, pressure exerted at the time of writing etc. The new online system helped in removing the irregularities from the pre-existing system and helped smooth submission of applications.