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Electronic Signatures Essay

Electronic signatures have a tremendous positive impact on E-commerce.  Without the use of electronic signatures, hard copies of contracts and documents would have to be created and mailed between participating parties.  The use of electronic signatures and contracts has enabled a larger volume of transactions to occur.  In addition, transactions can now more readily occur universally.

The use of electronic signatures enables the exchange of services or products for money.  There are a vast number of electronic banking services available online.  By allowing electronic signatures and contracts, there has essentially become a virtual banking system that is then connected with the physical location of banks.  Without the use of electronic signatures, the entire finance world would be greatly altered and impeded.

In addition, the use of electronic signatures has had a tremendous impact on paper work reduction.  As an example, independent contractors can electronically sign 1099 tax forms and service for payment contracts.  Prior to electronic signatures, all tax papers had to be signed on hard copy.  Now through electronic contracts and signatures, virtually anyone can fill out and file tax returns and even pay tax fees through electronic banking.

The biggest pitfall of electronic contracts and signatures is the difficulty of identity

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theft.  If someone steals credit cards and uses them electronically, the card holder is still legally responsible for the debt incurred.  In addition, banking transactions can be tampered with electronically.  Another pitfall is someone falsely signing electronically for services and products online with intent to pay.  The person that was electronically signed is obligated to the contract unless they can prove it was not their electronic signature.  Hackers can route information on specific ISP’s and make victims vulnerable and with a difficult time proving that the individual did not enter the electronic signature.

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