GDPR and E-Signatures: What You Need to Know

Data privacy is a critical concern for businesses and individuals alike. The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into effect in 2018, and has made significant changes to the way businesses collect, store, and use personal data. One of the key changes that GDPR has brought about is the requirement for organizations to obtain valid and meaningful consent from individuals before collecting their personal data. Accompanying the GDPR, the use of E-signatures has also become increasingly popular in recent years. In this article, we will discuss the interplay between GDPR and E-signatures, and what you need to know about using E-signatures that comply with GDPR.

What is an E-Signature?

An electronic signature or e-signature is the digital equivalent of a handwritten signature. It is a way to signify agreement or consent to a legal document or transaction without the need for physical documents to be signed in person. E-signatures take various forms, including an electronic signature captured on a touch screen, a digital representation of a person’s handwritten signature or some other authentication method used to confirm a user’s identity and intent to sign.

What is GDPR?

GDPR is an EU regulation that came into effect on May 25, 2018, which places strict obligations on businesses and organizations that collect, store, and process personal data. It applies not only to businesses based in the European Union, but also to businesses that offer goods or services to EU citizens or monitor the behavior of EU citizens. The regulation requires companies to obtain valid consent from individuals before collecting and processing their personal data. Organizations must also ensure that personal data is processed in a secure and lawful manner, and that individuals have the right to access their personal data and have it erased.

How does GDPR apply to E-Signatures?

Under GDPR, obtaining valid consent is a critical requirement for the collection and processing of personal data. The use of E-signatures is one way for businesses to meet the GDPR’s signature requirements while ensuring that data is collected and processed in a secure and compliant manner. For an E-signature to be legally valid under the GDPR, it must meet a number of requirements. First, it must be uniquely linked to the signatory and allow the signatory to be identified. Second, it must be capable of identifying if the data has been tampered with or changed after the signature was applied. Third, it must be created using a secure method that is under the sole control of the signatory. And fourth, it must be linked to the document or data to which it relates, in such a way as to make it clear that any changes in the data will also change the signature.

What are the benefits of using E-Signatures in GDPR compliance?

E-signatures offer a number of benefits to businesses that need to comply with the GDPR. First, they provide a secure and convenient way to obtain valid consent from individuals, with the added assurance that the signature cannot be tampered with or changed. Second, E-signatures can save time, eliminating the need to print and fax or mail documents. Third, electronic signatures improve the document tracking process, allowing businesses to track the progress of the document-signing process in real-time. Fourth, E-signatures provide a method for authenticating the identity of the signatory, which can be used to prove compliance with GDPR’s requirements for verifying consent.

How to ensure the use of E-Signatures is GDPR compliant?

When using E-signatures to obtain consent from individuals, businesses must ensure that their use is GDPR compliant. Here are some of the best practices businesses can follow to ensure that E-signatures are GDPR compliant:
1. Implement a secure E-signature system to verify the identity of the signatories and track the progress of the signature process.
2. Ensure that signatories receive sufficient information about the data being collected and how it will be processed before they sign.
3. Obtain clear and unambiguous consent from signatories by providing them with an option to opt-in or opt-out of the data collection.
4. Provide a process for signatories to revoke their consent at any time if they change their minds.
5. Ensure that the duration of consent is reasonable and that signatories are notified before their consent expires.


GDPR compliance is crucial for businesses that collect and process personal data. The use of E-signatures can be an effective way to achieve GDPR compliance, provided that it follows the best practices outlined. E-signatures are secure, convenient, and save time, making them an attractive solution for businesses that need to obtain consent from individuals. By following the steps outlined in this article, businesses can ensure that their E-signature processes are GDPR compliant and that they meet the legal requirements for collecting and processing personal data.

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