|Policy Approval Authority
|Division of Administration and Finance
|Vice President for Administration and Finance and Chief Financial Officer
|Date Submitted to Policy Library Committee
|Proposed Adoption Date
|Effective Adoption Date
Governance / Administration
A digital signature is a type of electronic signature, specifically defined by the Illinois Act as “a type of electronic signature that is created by transforming an electronic record . . . and encrypting the resulting transformation with an asymmetric cryptophytes using the signer's private key . . . and the signer's corresponding public key.”
A digital signature is, by definition, considered to be a security procedure [5 ILCS 175/15- 10], but it is not the only acceptable security procedure that may be used to prove an electronic signature.
By definition, all digital signatures are electronic signatures, but not all electronic signatures are digital signatures.
Wherever possible, NIU encourages that members of its community do business electronically and use electronic signatures to conduct transactions that may have previously required handwritten signatures on paper documents.
Where a transaction requires that the authenticity of the signer be more rigorously proven and where the party to the contract or transaction cannot legally repudiate the authenticity of their signature on a document, then a digital signature will be required. The policy also establishes the process for designating transactions that would accept digital signatures and how NIU will implement digital signatures. Until NIU establishes its preferred and approved methods for the use of digital signatures at the University, such contracts or transactions will need handwritten signatures on paper documents.
Ultimately, each Data Trustee will be accountable for selecting the appropriate signature method along with documenting the selection procedure and reasons for selecting a signature method and the Data Steward will be responsible for implementing the appropriate signature method.
Under applicable Illinois law, electronic signatures and digital signatures cannot be used for the following transactions:
• Where a rule of law clearly indicates an intent for the transaction to be handwritten, as opposed to in an electronic format. In these situations, a law that simply requires the information to be “in writing”, “written” or “printed” can be satisfied through an electronic signature.
• To a rule of law governing the creation or execution of a will or trust. An electronic copy of a will or trust that is already created or executed can be sufficient for other purposes, so long as the validity of the electronic document is reasonably not in question.
• To any record that serves as a unique and transferable instrument of rights and obligations including, without limitation, negotiable instruments and other instruments of title wherein possession of the instrument is deemed to confer title.