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New Rules to Prevent Corporate E-Signatures

The law has tried to play 'catch up' with the increasing sophistication of cyber-crime since the advent of the Internet, and new EU regulations implemented in the UK as the Electronic Identification and Trust Services for Electronic Transactions Regulations 2016 have taken further steps to tighten up the security around e-signatures, by which documents are electronically signed.

One important change is that an e-signature can now only be used by individuals. The Regulations prohibit the use of e-signatures by corporations in their own right. Only directors and authorised signatories of companies may use e-signatures.

A number of technical amendments are also made in order to improve the security attaching to e-signatures.

The use of electronic means to enter into contractual relations is now commonplace, but the potential security risks of communications (especially via email) are not well understood by many.

Guidance on the new Regulations can be found on the GOV.UK website.

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