People and organisations interact electronically (for example over the Internet) all the time. Electronic consents, disclosures, and signatures are all ways in which those people can achieve consensus between themselves. Consents, disclosures, and signatures are three related issues that go hand in hand – you can’t really consider one without thinking of the others. A consensus is important because it gets people on the same page (and in some cases complies with a legal obligation). Once people are on the same page, you have a general agreement which prevents disputes, enables co-operation, and is a legal requirement in many situations. Everything from checkboxes on websites, privacy notices, and digital signatures enable people to agree on something or whatever business they’re concluding. But, they’re only enforceable if you implement them correctly.
Why are electronic consents, disclosures, and signatures contentious?
People are often not on the same page about when to give up some of their privacy, and when to protect it. Because of this, electronic consents, disclosures, and signatures often become contentious and end up not achieving their purpose – helping people get on the same page. Privacy is something most people demand for themselves. They generally feel strongly about the privacy of their personal information. But interestingly, the way a lot of those people give up control of that privacy – particularly over the Internet – doesn’t speak to how important privacy is to them. For these reasons, there is always a strong possibility that disputes and misunderstandings might take place. The disputes and misunderstandings might be about whether or not someone consented to the processing of their personal information, a processor disclosed their processing lawfully, or a signature was valid in the electronic context.
People tend to give up their privacy too easily over the Internet without understanding what they’re really doing, which makes electronic consents, disclosures, and signatures likely to cause a dispute if you don’t do them properly.
How can electronic consents, disclosures, and signatures help you?
Electronic consents, disclosures, and signatures can help you reach agreement with other people over the Internet when you deploy them in an enforceable way. You achieve something that’s as important to people as privacy is – namely consensus. The law calls it ‘a meeting of the minds’. Once you have consensus, you can prevent disputes, the ones you already have may fall away, and more co-operation with other people becomes possible – but, only if you do it properly. You also get to comply with any law that requires consensus, such as:
- data protection laws that require consent as grounds for processing personal information (signatures are a very reliable way of showing consent)
- data protection laws that generally require you to notify the data subject about why and how you are processing their information
- consumer protection, credit, and direct marketing laws that require you to inform consumers, customers, clients, prospects, or leads of their rights under certain circumstances
- and laws that require specific kinds of electronic signatures in specific situations
Electronic consents, disclosures, and signatures help you and your customers, clients, employees, or contractors become sympatico – but, only when you implement them correctly.
What actions can you take when it comes to implementing electronic consents, disclosures, and signatures correctly?
There is lots you can do when it comes electronic consents, disclosures, and signatures, including implementing checkboxes on websites, privacy notices, and digital signatures, but we can ensure that you implement them in an enforceable way by helping you:
- Assess your current level of consents, disclosures, and signatures and what you still need to do to comply with the relevant laws by completing our Online Electronic Consents, Disclosures, and Signatures Assessment.
- Make better decisions about consents, disclosures, and signatures by using our Electronic Consents, Disclosures, and Signatures Handbook.
- Gain more knowledge about consents, disclosures, and signatures by using our comprehensive Electronic Consents, Disclosures, and Signatures Compliance Guide.
- Get consents and make disclosures the right way by asking us to help you draft a Consent and Disclosure Form.
- Receive online group training on consents, disclosures, and signatures by joining our Electronic Consents, Disclosures, and Signatures Webinar.
- Improve awareness of consents, disclosures, and signatures by attending our Practically using Electronic Signatures and the Law Workshop.
If you are interested, please complete the form on the right or enquire now. We will contact you to find out more about your requirements and give you a quote.