World of Digital Signatures

Tech Trek Log – 2010.06.08

Just came from Digital Signatures full-day workshop hosted by Microsoft at Redmond, WA. Of particular interest is the presentation by Shelley Gu about additions to digital signatures support for Microsoft Office including InfoPath client. I’ve collected some links in this post to introduce the concept for anybody interested in implementing this in their enterprise:

Add or remove digital signatures in Office files

Digital Signatures in Office 2010

Plan digital signature settings for Office 2010

Obtain a digital certificate to create a digital signature

Note, there is a separate topic for electronic signatures on emails, and certificates used for securing a web server. Also, the primary application of this particular digital certificate is not to secure the document from further changes since that is where SharePoint record management (RM) comes into play. Rather, this allows a 3rd party to identify and simulate a paper-based signature for audit purposes. This is especially relevant in recent times with all the litigation and compliance requirements to various government institutions or standards.

On a side note for the seminar, I’d be cautious to the vision of European Union (EU) and other government organizations are undertaking with their push towards digital citizenship. This enables public and private institutions to enforce signing of documents and process transactions using digital IDs that can be compromised by hackers, or exposed inadvertently by careless users.

As a former colleague would quote, “the pathway to hell is paved with good intentions.”


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