Signatures written on paper are not all that helpful...Where they actually are accurate, however, is when written on pressure sensative pads (such as those seen on new-fandangled credit card swipers)
This may be slightly offtopic (but hopefully interesting to the slashdot crowd), so I apologize in advance. I've been trying to figure out how to use electronic signature pads to verify job authorizations, and haven't been able to come up with a way that they seem airtight to me if a customer denies issuing the authorization. Perhaps you or another reader can enlighten me.
I can record the data coming in from the signature pad and associate it with the job ticket in our database easily enough. However, if the customer denies authorizing the work, and we show them the signature data, they can just claim we copied it from another ticket. That seems like a reasonable defense to me, and one that very well might hold up in court if it came to that
I've tried to think of various ways to hash the signature data with unique information from a job ticket, but can't think of anything that can get around the fact that we have access to the raw data that comes from the signature pad, and can do what we want with it. Therefore, I don't see how they can be used for anything like signing a contract.
Of course, a signature on paper (which is what we currently do) can be forged, but there are ways to tell that have been mentioned elsewhere in this story.