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Re: Texas PE

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Bad news. Signatures get copied all the time. Any document that leaves your office can have the seal scanned and copied and placed on a new document - all the way down to a red or blue signature. Color laserjets are very good these days.  A digital signature is far more secure and verifiable than a physical one if even half of the proper procedures are followed. Also, breaking any encryption (in the US) is against the law, hence even Adobe's use of ROT13 is _legally_ "impossible to break".  (right)

Anyway, a digital signature that is verified by a third party (i.e. third party verification and registration of, say, an acrobat signature) is actually more readily verified by others than a wet seal.  Anyone can get a stamp and sign it with your name, and the only way to verify it is to call your office, find the person who supposedly signed it, and have them verify the signature in person, or hire a handwriting and pressure/process expert to determine whether the signature is authentic. Any proper digital seal can be verified electronically against a trusted database. I won't even pretend to know much about cryptography, but done right I honestly believe that a digital seal can be better than a wet seal. 

Not that it matters...the twenty copies in the field that the building gets built off are just photocopies anyway. With whiteout and a pen you can make passable changes, and with a scanner and photoshop you can create a while new building -or just change a number - with nary a trace.  In the last 500 jobs I've done, I have not once been called to verify my signature, even on documents which were photocopied and could have been easily faked.

Now, having a legal hard copy is good should anything ever go to court and you have to prove you _didn't_ sign something. But, then again, just because you didn't keep a record of it doesn't mean it doesn't exist (proving a negative is hard), or you could have just as easily faked an error-ridden document as you could have faked the time stamp on a self-certified acrobat document. 

(and all this because someone wanted a digital copy of a PE seal)
Jordan


Jerry Coombs wrote:
According to TX B of PE, it's really a legal document tracking.  PDF's and any other non-secure document can be altered.  Also, a non-secure signed stamp can be easily copied.  With the hard, wet-stamped document somewhere near the distributor, as well as others and hard copies, electronic documents can be verified.  Electronically "signed" documents without a record wet stamp that may be forged, are by default, not legal or binding.

>>> Rand W Holtham <RHoltham(--nospam--at)CBI.com> 8/15/2007 2:53 PM >>>
The intention (IMHO) of the anti-electronic signature is that the
responsible Engineer had at a minimum touched the engineered document and
that some other person did not issued the document without the consent of
the responsible engineer. The electronic signature makes rubber stamping
infraction just too easy. So a faxed copy of a seal document is legitimate
as I see it as much as a photocopy of a stamped document is legit.


Rand



                                                                          
             "Jerry Coombs"                                               
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                                       Re: Texas PE                       
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The original document must be signed, sealed, and *transmitted*.  It may be
followed by a facsimile of whatever sort, but there must be a real paper
trail to the original, to the person distributing them.  One fuzzy area
that is not explicit, but seems acceptable, is to fax a sealed addendum,
correction, etc; but these should really be followed by a hard copy, too.

>>> "Jordan Truesdell, PE" <seaint1(--nospam--at)truesdellengineering.com> 8/15/2007
6:22 AM >>>
I've been away for a bit, and didn't get a chance to reply earlier. Does
this mean that you cannot fax a sealed document? And for the prohibition,
does it apply to sending the document or to the validity of the sent
document?
Jordan


Jerry Coombs wrote:
      If you can't find a blank, I may be able to strip name/ number from
      mine and send.  Keep in mind that it is NOT ALLOWED in Texas, as in
      many states, to transmit a signed stamp electronically.

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