FAQ PERSONAL IDS
- What is a personal ID?
- Will any digitally signed document have the same value as a hand-signed document?
- Do I need a personal ID?
- What will people see when they receive my document?
- What happens if someone changes my documents?
- How can I give legal value to a Word document that can be modified, unlike a PDF?
- Isn’t there a risk that someone pretends to be me and orders a personal ID to my name?
- How many documents can I sign and encrypt?
- Can several people digitally sign the document if they also have a personal ID?
- Can I sign my documents from any computer?
- Can I only use Microsoft Office to encrypt my e-mails?
What is a personal ID?
On the Internet a personal ID is like having an ID card which you can copy and add to any of the documents you create. This digital ID is “stapled” to the document so the person who receives it is sure that the document belongs to you. As it is electronic, the personal ID also makes sure that no one has changed anything you wrote in the document and encrypts the content when you e-mail it, so that only you and the person who receives the document will be able to read it.
Will any digitally signed document have the same value as a hand-signed document?
Yes! Hand signing a document means that you personally agree with its content, and once signed, a document cannot be modified. The principle is exactly the same with a personal ID; it works as a certificate that only you are able to deliver and shows that you’ve approved the content of the attached document. As it is digital it is even safer - the personal ID demonstrates that no one has changed the document.
Do I need a personal ID?
In any business, it is vital to guarantee the content of important documents: invoices, quotes, and contracts etc…. Using a personal ID is much faster (no more traditional mail procedures) and much safer as well. Think about the person who will receive your e-mail; there is no better way to show them you are trustworthy than sending an encrypted e-mail with digitally signed documents.
What will people see when they receive my document?
When you send a signed e-mail with Microsoft Outlook, the receiver will see a proof of authenticity (a red ribbon), and if you encrypted the e-mail, the receiver will see that the message is secured (see picture below)
Regarding Microsoft Office Documents, there are two types of signature you can add: visible and non-visible signatures.
· Non-visible signatures are available for Microsoft Word, Excel, Power Point and Outlook. They will display a red ribbon at the bottom of the page:
· Clicking on this red ribbon will give the user more details about the digital signature
A notification will also appear at the top of the document to say it has been marked as final, and should not be edited.
· Visible signatures are available for Word and Excel documents. There can be one or several signers. All of them need to have a personal ID and apply their own digital signature, with the option to include an image of his or her physical signature.
See more examples here.
What happens if someone changes my documents?
Any document changed after the digital signature is in place will remove any visible signature and display a new bar with a signature error.
The signature detail will state that the document was modified after the signature was added.
How can I give legal value to a Word document that can be modified, unlike a PDF?
Indeed, a Microsoft Word document can be amended unlike a PDF. However, digitally signing your document will automatically display proofs of authenticity and integrity, unless someone modifies it. This system is as safe as handwritten documents, as changing any little thing, even correcting a typo, will immediately remove the signatures. So everyone will see that the document was changed, and if you try to print it, the absence of signatures will invalidate it.
Isn’t there a risk that someone pretends to be me and orders a personal ID to my name?
A personal ID is not just simply delivered to anyone without any identity check before. It is a certificate, and to order one, you need to prove your identity and which company/business you belong to. Therefore, a personal ID not only proves that you truly are who you purport to be, but also proves that your business does exist and that you are part of it.
How many documents can I sign and encrypt?
Your personal ID‘s validity period is up to 3 years. During this time you can digitally sign as many document as you want.
Can several people digitally sign the document if they also have a personal ID?
Yes they can. However they won’t be able to change the content of the document if someone has already signed before them.
Can I sign my documents from any computer?
Yes but you will have to install your certificate on each computer you wish to use.
Can I only use Microsoft Office to encrypt my e-mails?
No, this service is also available for Mozilla Thunderbird and Seamonkey, Apple Mail, Lotus Notes, Eudora Pro, Netscape Messenger and RITLabs The Bat! Email Client.