The ECT Act defines an electronic signature as data attached to, incorporated in, or logically associated with other data and which is intended by the user to serve as a signature. The ECT Act recognises the contractual freedom of parties to specify whether electronic signatures are required, and if so, the types of electronic signatures. The Act does not prescribe what type of technology must be used and remains technology neutral.
The Act also creates special type of electronic signature, known as an “advanced electronic signature”. Where a law (statute) requires a signature, only an “advanced” electronic signature will be recognised. These signatures can only be provided by vendors whose electronic signature product has been accredited by the DOC. They involve face-to-face authentication. Some of these signatures rely on public key cryptography and to this extent, may be considered “digital signatures”.