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Digitally Signing PDF's

Digitally Signing PDF's

Digitally Signing PDF's

(OP)
My board is now requiring us to have a third party signature verification service certify our electronic documents.
Does anybody use https://www.globalsign.com/en/?
You have to pay about $300 per year for 500 uses and it requires a USB dongle that interfaces with Acrobat.
If not, what are others using?

Just another cost for my business that will do absolutely nothing to prevent fraud.

RE: Digitally Signing PDF's

We use Bluebeam and I think it is much better than adobe acrobat (and cheaper) and certifies documents.

RE: Digitally Signing PDF's

(OP)
Acrobat does that too but it is not acceptable by my board (NC) as it is not a third party. I use it anyway :>

RE: Digitally Signing PDF's

How do they check that you have third party verification? I ask because I honestly don't know, we don't digitally seal stuff here. We do put the seal on the drawing digitally, and then sign the printed copy but I don't believe that requires any sort of additional precautions.

RE: Digitally Signing PDF's

(OP)

Quote (jayrod12)

How do they check that you have third party verification? I ask because I honestly don't know, we don't digitally seal stuff here. We do put the seal on the drawing digitally, and then sign the printed copy but I don't believe that requires any sort of additional precautions.
We are allowed to do that but I seal about 1000 drawings per year as clients always make revisions so it is not cost effective for me to manually sign each sheet.
I am not sure how they would know, but if they ever got a hold of one of my drawings they could probably figure it out.
My guess s the penalty would be a slap on the wrist since most of my competitors don't use it either - much cheaper than me paying about $500 per year for this.

RE: Digitally Signing PDF's

So does that mean you use a self-signed certificate with Acrobat rather than having a certificate that's issued by a certificate authority? I've got no idea about the specific case for your board, but I'm certainly seeing a lot more self-signed certificates rather than people using certificate authority issued ones.

As I understand it, its not an issue if the certificate is only used internally and allocated against the company's internal certificate as anyone internal to the company can verify it, but any external issued signature can't be verified in the same manner.

I also suspect this is an area where IT aspects on how to carry this out are not clear. Use of a board designated certificate authority makes a lot of that easier, even though there's a cost associated.

RE: Digitally Signing PDF's

(OP)
"So does that mean you use a self-signed certificate with Acrobat rather than having a certificate that's issued by a certificate authority?"

Correct.
Funny thing is that I called the board secretary (anonomously) and she said she just took a class on this and you can just use Acrobat self signed - which totally conflicts with what they have in writing. I think i will just keep doing that until something shifts.

RE: Digitally Signing PDF's

We're using GlobalSign like you. We issue a lot of drawings from multiple offices so I'm sure it's a net cost savings (shipping, printing, etc.), but I'm not sure how you recover that. With shipping, printing, we can bill it to a project number, but for the fees and setup of GlobalSign, it's difficult.

RE: Digitally Signing PDF's

XR250....My state board (FL) thinks the same as yours about Acrobat. I asked their general counsel "why?" and his reply was the same as you got....no third party verification. I asked if I physically sign and seal a document, where is the third party verification....he didn't answer that one! I use Acrobat as well.

RE: Digitally Signing PDF's

(OP)

Quote (Ron)

XR250....My state board (FL) thinks the same as yours about Acrobat. I asked their general counsel "why?" and his reply was the same as you got....no third party verification. I asked if I physically sign and seal a document, where is the third party verification....he didn't answer that one! I use Acrobat as well.

This situation just irritates me. I don't see how any of these methods will prevent any sort of fraud. Look at those two clowns in California who practiced for years without licenses. When I order my PE stamp, they did not ask for ID.

RE: Digitally Signing PDF's

We use Bluebeam for digital signatures in a lot of states. Even with a digital signature, if someone were to use the Snipping Tool and capture my seal, signature and digital check mark, they could then use Bluebeam or Acrobat Pro to alter my drawing. The digital signature would change to a void symbol but they could then just paste over that with the capture from the snipping tool...then print out my drawing.

So a digital signature of any kind is ridiculous in my view.

What I ultimately have to protect myself is the digital copy (digitally sealed) that i originally sent to my client. No one can change that because I keep it locally and can use it to prove what I originally sealed.

In my local state, the board has recently concluded about the same thing and now doesn't mandate an electronic signature but leaves the "protection of your seal" to the individual discretion of the engineer.

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RE: Digitally Signing PDF's

Quote (JAE)

leaves the "protection of your seal" to the individual discretion of the engineer.

This has always been the case for a physical seal in every state in which I'm licensed. Makes sense to apply the same rule to digital signatures.

RE: Digitally Signing PDF's

(OP)
My guess is that Globalsign etc. is lining the pockets of the boards to require this. Think about the revenue they are getting.
Follow the money!

RE: Digitally Signing PDF's

XR250…When I bought my engineering stamp back in 1983 (California Civil), the stationary store I ordered it through would not place the order until I showed them my certificate.

==========
"Is it the only lesson of history that mankind is unteachable?"
--Winston S. Churchill

RE: Digitally Signing PDF's

Here is an apparently free third party certificate authority: CACERT. Please note that I haven't tried this. It appears to use certificates that are compatible with PDFs. If someone tries this, please let us know if it works!

Also, Bluebeam has a list of certificate authorities they've tested. CA's. My company uses Verisign.

RE: Digitally Signing PDF's

(OP)
I might check that out if I decide to go legit.
Thanks

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