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Electronic Signatures Essay Research Paper Technical WritingEnglish

Electronic Signatures Essay, Research Paper Technical Writing English 2311 Elizabeth Huston, Ph.D. Mark Anthony Perez April 28, 2001 Saturday Class

Electronic Signatures Essay, Research Paper

Technical Writing

English 2311

Elizabeth Huston, Ph.D.

Mark Anthony Perez

April 28, 2001

Saturday Class

Electronic Signature technology

To: Elizabeth Huston, Ph.D.

From: Mark Anthony Perez

Date: April 28, 2001

Subject: Electronic Signature Technology

Abstract:

During our February 3 meeting, upper level management expressed concerns about not being able to deal with customer accounts online. We discussed some of the problems they encounter when trying to process transactions online. We agreed some changes needed to be made and that new technology needs to be researched for our online business transactions. An electronic signature program can provide this company with an advanced solution for handling transactions online. The electronic signature provides trust and security in e-commerce, in electronic data interchange and in the open network as a whole. It allows any recipient of an electronic data to define the sender and to check whether the data has been changed, or whether its integrity has been violated. An electronic signature, which incorporates cryptography, encryption and decryption, is important, to this business, the government, and all of us as individuals. It is time to upgrade, renew and advance our systems for this growing trend.

Introduction

During our February 3 meeting, upper level management expressed concerns about not being able to deal with customer accounts online. We discussed some of the problems they encounter when trying to process transactions online. We agreed some changes needed to be made and that new technology needs to be researched for our online business transactions. The use of electronic signatures was at the top of our list.

Many of our competitors have already built-in e-signature verification within their systems for online business and for handling their financial records. Using this innovative, high-ranking technology can significantly cut down on the time it takes to process online business. Consequently, it is urgent that we take rapid action toward the procedures required for incorporating the use of Electronic Signatures.

Proposal Solution

An electronic signature program can provide this company with an advanced solution for handling transactions online, as well as for lessening the cost of processing files through mail or long distance traveling. “The use of an e-signature is creating greater consumer confidence in online business transactions…” (Hammar, Sven), over the Internet. One of the most important elements to increasing online business, in conjunction with increasing sales, is to find which type of e-signature program to put into action.

In order to make best use of electronic commerce opportunities, a secure environment with respect to electronic signatures is needed. Several different methods exist to sign documents electronically varying from very simple methods (e.g. inserting a scanned image of a hand-written signature in a word processing document) to very advanced methods (e.g. digital signatures using ‘public-key cryptography’). The term “Electronic Signature” is currently being used, but there is currently no agreed definition for it. It is likely that different interpretations may exist behind the following definition and wording.

“The term ‘electronic signature’ means information or data in electronic form, attached to or logically associated with an electronic record, and executed or adopted by a person or an electronic agent of a person, with the intent to sign a contract, agreement, or record,” according to Jon Udell.

When digital signatures are used, the verification of the authenticity of data does not necessarily prove the identity of the signer that created the electronic signature. How does for instance the recipient of a signed document know without ambiguity who the signer is or make sure that it is the one that he claims to be? The recipient may wish to obtain more reliable information on the identity of the signer. The signer himself, issuing the recipient with satisfactory proof, can give such information. Another way is to have it confirmed by a trust service provider (e.g. an authority trusted by one or more parties).

The fallowing paragraph pertains to how a digital signature works. “The sender creates a message digest of the document he or she wants to send, and encrypts it using the private key. The message, containing the document and the ‘signature,’ is then sent to the recipient. If the sender desires privacy, the message is encrypted. The recipient applies the sender’s public key to the digital signature. He or she does this to retrieve the message digest from the digital signature that the sender created prior to sending. Next, the recipient creates a new message digest from the message received and compares that to the one that was inside the digital signature. If the two are the same, then the message was truly sent by the sender and arrived unaltered,” according to (Grant, 35).

“PKI involves the use of two cryptographic keys, one private and one public. Information encrypted with one key in the pair can only be decrypted with the other key. Private keys are generally stored on the user’s hard drive. The publicly available key is embedded in a certificate with personal details about the user. The key is easily distributed through a Web browser. Thus, PKI provides the essential services for managing certificates and encryption keys for the people, programs and systems that use public-key cryptography, states Hammar.”

Electronic means of communications are a serious challenge for the security and protection of transactions and relations conducted electronically. The new technologies require a relevant legal basis both on national and international level. The classical regulations are based on the requirement for a paper-based document and hand-written signatures. An electronic signature is the electronic equivalent of a manual signature placed over a document; therefore the legal framework must be equal to hand-written signature laws.

The electronic signature provides trust and security in e-commerce, in electronic data interchange and in the open network as a whole. It allows any recipient of an electronic data to define the sender and to check whether the data has been changed, or whether its integrity has been violated. In contrast to the scanned hand-written signature, the electronic one is a piece of information in an electronic form, where electronic value is used for identifying the author and its consent with the data. The electronic signature is based on a technology for authentication (systems for encoding and decoding.)

Over the past few years, changes in law and advances in technology have dramatically altered the landscape of electronic authentication. Although use of the technology is not yet widespread, electronic authentication holds the promise of a radical shift in the way business is conducted. Digital signatures and the operation of public key infrastructures (“PKIs”) promise drastically reduced transaction costs in virtually every sector of business. Companies and consumers alike welcome the day when the click of a button can complete high-value transactions that previously required hours of deliberation and hundreds of documents.

While the benefits of authentication technologies have long been apparent, the method of achieving these commercial gains has been decidedly less obvious. Legislatures and regulatory agencies around the world have taken various and divergent approaches in their effort to take advantage of these emerging technologies. Much of this divergence stems from the simple fact that these technologies have yet to fully evolve. Electronic signatures currently claim only limited acceptance in the marketplace; thus, policy-makers are left with the task of predicting how e-signatures will be used, rather than reacting to how they are used. Differing policies reflect differing assumptions about the future of these technologies and how to influence them.

An electronic signature is an integral part of secure electronic transactions. In the physical world today, there are requirements for documents to be in writing with hand-written signatures. Such requirements need to be translated into the electronic realm. For communication and transactions occurring over a faceless network, there is a need for reliable methods to authenticate a person’s identity and to ensure the integrity of the electronically transmitted documents. Electronic Signatures provides integrity, authenticity and non-repudiation of electronic transactions. This revolutionary technology is very important, since it opens new frontiers in dealing with data or information transmission, validation, recording and retrieval.

Is expected that with the electronic transaction and electronic signature legislature in place, e-commerce will truly flourish.

Conclusion

An electronic signature, which incorporates cryptography, encryption and decryption, is important, to this business, the government, and all of us as individuals. Safe and secure communications between companies, as well as, between individuals has evolved into a necessity. Individuals have come to expect safe and secure transmission of email messages, and entrust our paycheck to be deposited by our employer through EFT (Electronic Funds Transfer). In addition, as computers get faster, there is a need to ensure the standards are the best they can be. The world is growing so fast and computer systems have been so quick that both have taken their toll on the current standards.

Without a doubt, an e-signature program can relieve this company of its current dilemma, by providing it with a way to perform business online. The use of e-signatures by other companies is proving that it does increase sales, in addition to reduce unnecessary spending. It is time to upgrade, renew and advance our systems for this growing trend. As a result, action is needed toward implementation of e-signatures within a short period of time and should be started without postponement. With your authorization, we can begin this process at once.

Works Cited

Grant, Gail L., Understanding Digital Signatures. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1998

Hammar, Sven. “PKI enables digital signatures.” Network World Oct 30, 2000

Udell, Jon. “Digital Signature Laws.” Byte 22 Dec 2000. 5 March 2001 http://www.Byte.com

Works Consorted

Arar, Yardena. Now you can sign on the digital line. PC World 18 vols. San Francisco: Dec 2000

Canter, Sheryl. “Electronic Signatures: Solutions tools & Tips for the Internet Age.” PC Magazine 2 Jan. 2001: 102-105

Marquess, Kate. “ Sign on the Dot-Corn Line.” ABA Journal Oct 2000

Misra, Sunil. “Federal law allows electronic signatures.” The American City & County Dec 2000

Singh, Simon. The Code Book: The Evolution of Secrecy from Mary Queen of Scots to Quantum Cryptography. New York: Doubleday, 1999

“Bill Pertaining to Digital Signatures and Authentication in the lO6~ Congress.” Tech Law Journal http://techlawjournal.com/cong106/digsig/Default.ttm ( 5 Apr. 2001).

Grant, Gail L., Understanding Digital Signatures. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1998

Hammar, Sven. “PKI enables digital signatures.” Network World Oct 30, 2000

Udell, Jon. “Digital Signature Laws.” Byte 22 Dec 2000. 5 March 2001 http://www.Byte.com

Works Consorted

Arar, Yardena. Now you can sign on the digital line. PC World 18 vols. San Francisco: Dec 2000

Canter, Sheryl. “Electronic Signatures: Solutions tools & Tips for the Internet Age.” PC Magazine 2 Jan. 2001: 102-105

Marquess, Kate. “ Sign on the Dot-Corn Line.” ABA Journal Oct 2000

Misra, Sunil. “Federal law allows electronic signatures.” The American City & County Dec 2000

Singh, Simon. The Code Book: The Evolution of Secrecy from Mary Queen of Scots to Quantum Cryptography. New York: Doubleday, 1999

“Bill Pertaining to Digital Signatures and Authentication in the lO6~ Congress.” Tech Law Journal http://techlawjournal.com/cong106/digsig/Default.ttm ( 5 Apr. 2001).

Works Cited

Grant, Gail L., Understanding Digital Signatures. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1998

Hammar, Sven. “PKI enables digital signatures.” Network World Oct 30, 2000

Udell, Jon. “Digital Signature Laws.” Byte 22 Dec 2000. 5 March 2001 http://www.Byte.com

Works Consorted

Arar, Yardena. Now you can sign on the digital line. PC World 18 vols. San Francisco: Dec 2000

Canter, Sheryl. “Electronic Signatures: Solutions tools & Tips for the Internet Age.” PC Magazine 2 Jan. 2001: 102-105

Marquess, Kate. “ Sign on the Dot-Corn Line.” ABA Journal Oct 2000

Misra, Sunil. “Federal law allows electronic signatures.” The American City & County Dec 2000

Singh, Simon. The Code Book: The Evolution of Secrecy from Mary Queen of Scots to Quantum Cryptography. New York: Doubleday, 1999

“Bill Pertaining to Digital Signatures and Authentication in the lO6~ Congress.” Tech Law Journal http://techlawjournal.com/cong106/digsig/Default.ttm ( 5 Apr. 2001).

Works Cited

Grant, Gail L., Understanding Digital Signatures. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1998

Hammar, Sven. “PKI enables digital signatures.” Network World Oct 30, 2000

Udell, Jon. “Digital Signature Laws.” Byte 22 Dec 2000. 5 March 2001 http://www.Byte.com

Works Consorted

Arar, Yardena. Now you can sign on the digital line. PC World 18 vols. San Francisco: Dec 2000

Canter, Sheryl. “Electronic Signatures: Solutions tools & Tips for the Internet Age.” PC Magazine 2 Jan. 2001: 102-105

Marquess, Kate. “ Sign on the Dot-Corn Line.” ABA Journal Oct 2000

Misra, Sunil. “Federal law allows electronic signatures.” The American City & County Dec 2000

Singh, Simon. The Code Book: The Evolution of Secrecy from Mary Queen of Scots to Quantum Cryptography. New York: Doubleday, 1999

“Bill Pertaining to Digital Signatures and Authentication in the lO6~ Congress.” Tech Law Journal http://techlawjournal.com/cong106/digsig/Default.ttm ( 5 Apr. 2001).

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