n.a code, generally created using a public key infrastructure (PKI) associated with a digital object that can verify the object has not been altered and, in some contexts, may be used to authenticate the identity of the senderABA 2003, 3From the information security point of view, “digital signature” means the result of applying to specific information certain specific technical processes described below. The historical legal concept of “signature” is broader. It recognizes any mark made with the intention of authenticating the marked document. [Note: See, e.g., U.C.C. §1-201(39) (1992).] In a digital setting, today's broad legal concept of “signature” may well include markings as diverse as digitized images of paper signatures, typed notations such as “/s/ John Smith,” or even addressing notations, such as electronic mail origination headers.Danielson 2010, 243Government records, once fixed and verifiable, are now subject to manipulation, degradation, and loss. New tools are being devised to fix the first version of a digital document with a so-call digital signature. Even with the best safeguards and the best intentions, authenticity is very uncertain in such an unstable format.
A digital signature is typically a message digest that is derived from the digital object being signed and encoded with a public key. The recipient can use the message digest to ensure that the object has not been altered and can use the matching private key to ensure the identity of the sender. See American Bar Association, Information Security Committee, Digital Signature Guidelines at http://www.abanet.org/scitech/ec/isc/digital_signature.html.