Signing contracts may soon become obsolete

The federal government has announced it is taking statutory declarations into the digital age, saying it will accept electronic signatures and video link witnessing from next year.
14 September 2023
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The federal Attorney-General, Mark Dreyfus, has introduced new legislation that allows people to sign statutory declarations digitally using the myGov online platform and myGovID Digital ID. 

Dreyfus believes that this bill is a crucial step in modernising government services and meeting the expectations of Australians who prefer to engage and communicate digitally. 

However, there are concerns about the potential loss of the significance and tangible aspect of a handwritten signature. 

The government estimates that implementing digital signatures could save over $156 million and hundreds of thousands of hours each year. 

However, Meryl Kane, a JP at Chatswood Library, believes that while digital signatures may be convenient, they lack the visceral experience of physically signing a document. Additionally, the process of obtaining a digital identification can be lengthy, which may deter older generations or non-English speakers from utilising this technology until absolutely necessary.

John Brodie, the state president of the New South Wales Justices Association, expresses concerns about security and the potential for fraud and scams. He believes that digitisation could undermine the authenticity and importance of legal documents like statutory declarations and raises questions about the effectiveness of the government's fraud prevention measures. 

Brodie also argues that video link witnessing does not provide adequate security to ensure the integrity of the signature. He emphasises the need for caution in implementing these measures to protect vulnerable individuals and maintain the credibility of statutory declarations.

- CyberBeat


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