There is an increase in technological advancement with fast paced business arena. Digital signatures is an electronic signature used in authenticating a document. It is more accurate and faster than physically done signature used in real world. It is basically a kind of asymmetric cryptography used to provide security in the form of electronic signature.
A digital signature consists of mathematical algorithms :
The end result of this signature process is known as digital signature.
A digital signature is an electronic signature used for the purpose of authentication of a message sent by a sender or to know the identity of the signer of the document. A digital signature is more accurate, easily transferable, insures originality of the content of the document or message and is faster. It involves process performed between signer and the receiver of the digital signature. The sender uses his private key to encrypt the message or document and the receiver decrypts the document or message and verifies it.
Digital signatures are widely used in e commerce, conducting financial transactions and in situations when forgery detection is an important technique. Digital signatures are accepted legally in many countries, including the United States, the members of European Union and Saudi Arabia. In many situations, digital signatures were considered alternative for official seal telling the authenticity of the digital signature and also an alternative for hand written signatures used in real life.
This makes it easier for businesses, governments and agencies for signing documents or messages related to e commerce, banking, contracts where verification of signature is needed. It is more secure, reliable and faster in comparison with handwritten signatures. Even the content cannot be replicated without private key. It is more secure because it prevents the attacker to attempt to access information.
Provisions related to Digital Signatures under various Laws
Digital signature has been given recognition in “ Information Technology Act, 2000” under section 5 which talks about digital signature used as a means for authentication of messages and documents. Other important provisions are in section 2(1) (t), section 4, section 14, section 15, section 2(1) (g) of “Information Technology Act, 2000”.
• Section 2(1) (p) of IT act, 2000 talks about digital signature as being a means for authentication of any electronic record as per provisions of section 3 of IT act, 2000.
It further helps in authentication process, by identifying a person and verifying integrity of the content and to check that content has not been altered.
• Section 3 of IT act, 2000 talks about authentication of electronic records which means any person in possession of public key can authenticate the electronic record and every person has unique private and public key for key pairing.
• Section 15 of IT act, 2000 deals with security procedure between parties who agreed to transfer information or document. It tells that a digital signature is more secure than handwritten signature.
According to Section 463 of “Indian Penal Code, 1860” talks about forgery as an offense or making of false documents with intention to harm someone or property is an offense.
As shown in Section 3 of “The Evidence Act, 1872” talks about digital signature and electronic records to be treated as evidence in Courts.
In the case of Anvar VS. P K Basheer, 2012 it was shown in the judgement that content of electronic records are considered as evidentiary document in Courts.
Setting aside regulation of business activities, it helps in prevention of forgery of crucial documents and messages. It provides additional benefits related to authentication and validation. It also helps in prevention of unknown alterations of documents which goes unnoticed. It prevents replication of data or documents. Unauthorised access to messages are prevented from making false signatures. These are the reasons for considering implementation of digital signature.