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Re: Legal signatures ramifications

You are talking about creating an electronic document in the form of a PDF
file.  Generate and append a digital signature against the file using a
program such as PGP or BlowFish.  If the document is altered, the digital
signature will no longer match.  Digital certificates of this sort are
common in business and government.  If you want complete confidence, go to
a digital certificate authority that you have confidence in and register
certificates against your documents.  Companies such as RSA Security work
with VeriSign to create public key infrastructures for websites and


>Our Legal department wants to put all of their contracts online for
>easier searching and so they don't have to fax them to our salespeople.
>They are scanning in signed contracts, as the salespeople need the
>signatures to show customers.
>However, they don't want anyone to be able to alter these contracts.
>Apparently, by federal law, any facsimile of a contract with signatures
>is still a legal contract, and we could be held liable for someone who
>has a copy and somehow changes it.
>We are scanning the contracts into Acrobat, putting them into a document
>management system, and preventing anyone from saving a copy and changing
>it on their desktop without a password (they have to be able to print to
>take a copy to customers).
>Of course, there is still always the opportunity to do a screen shot when
>viewing, or print a copy out, scan it in, and edit it on the desktop
>somehow. These possibilities are frightening our legal department into
>abandoning putting contracts on line. They realize they face the same
>possibilities when faxing contracts to the sales people, but it's on a
>much smaller scale since not all the contracts are easily obtainable that