New Industry Consortium to Pioneer Open Digital Signatures for Mobile and Web

Adobe (Nasdaq:ADBE) today announced the Cloud Signature Consortium, a group comprised of leading industry and academic organisations committed to building a new open standard for cloud-based digital signatures across mobile and web – so anyone can digitally sign documents from anywhere. Helping pave the way for global adoption of secure digital signatures, the initiative coincides with the introduction of a new European Union signature regulation (eIDAS) that goes into effect on 1st July.

Digital signatures are the most advanced and secure type of electronic signature, increasingly used by businesses and governments around the world. However, using standards-compliant digital signatures today can be a cumbersome, time consuming process that keeps people tethered to their desktop.  In many cases, they need certificate-based IDs stored on a physical device, like a USB token or smart card. This approach doesn’t meet increasing consumer and business expectations for simple and engaging experiences that work anywhere, on any device.

And, while some cloud-based digital signature solutions exist, they are proprietary and fragmented, rather than an open approach that offers a choice of certificate providers.As a leader and founding member of the new consortium, Adobe is collaborating with industry leaders to develop an open standard that will bring the world’s most secure form of electronic signing to over seven billion mobile devices around the globe.

“Adobe has a history of pioneering and advancing industry standards like PDF. We embrace open standards and, where none exist, we help create them,” said Bryan Lamkin, executive vice president and general manager of Digital Media, Adobe. “With more than six billion digital and electronic signature transactions processed each year through Adobe Sign and Adobe Document Cloud, we are focused on moving the signature industry forward. Today, in collaboration with the Cloud Signature Consortium, we are proud to advance an open standard for cloud-based digital signatures.”

Why an open standard is needed

The new standard created by the consortium will be critical to furthering digital transformation of business on a global scale by giving everyone access to secure digital signature solutions across a full range of cloud applications and mobile devices. Once implemented, the standard will benefit processes where signer identification is critical, such as applying for a marriage or business license, state benefits, or signing for a large loan. The Cloud Signature Consortium aims to build a global network of industry contributors and intends to release new standard specifications by the end of 2016—with the first cloud-based implementations to follow shortly thereafter. The consortium was inspired by the need to meet the highest level requirements of the European Union’s Regulation on Identification and Trust Services (eIDAS), but its impact is expected to be global as demand for highly secure digital solutions continues to rise.

“Adobe has a long history of successfully helping to establish and drive the adoption of open standards,” said Melissa Webster, vice president of content and digital media technologies, IDC.  “An open standard focused on cloud-based digital signatures will not only help companies save time and resources, but ultimately move an entire industry forward with best practices that benefit all.”

In addition to Adobe, initial Cloud Signature Consortium members, which span European cloud-based digital signature providers, trust services providers, academics, and standards and security focused organisations, include:

  • Asseco Data Systems – Poland
  • Bundesdruckerei / D-Trust – Germany
  • Cryptolog / Universign – France
  • Docapost / Certinomis – France
  • InfoCert – Italy
  • Intarsys Consulting – Germany
  • Intesi Group – Italy
  • Izenpe – Spain
  • Safelayer – Spain
  • SwissSign – Switzerland
  • Graz University of Technology – Austria
  • Unibridge – Norway

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