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First Online Notarization Makes History

July 09, 2012

United States legal history was made on Friday when the first online notarization online occurred between a signer in Los Angeles and a notary in Richmond, Virginia.

The notarization, which used audio-video conferencing technology, was the first to take advantage of the new Virginia law that went into effect on Friday and allows Virginia notaries to perform online notarizations for any signer in any state, explained e-signature workflow specialist, Safedocs in a news release. 

The notarized document was made tamper evident and an automated electronic journal record that incorporates a digital recording of the transaction was created as part of the process.

“The digitally notarized PDF document has the same legal effect as a pen-and-ink paper document and the notary’s electronic journal data virtually eliminates the possibility of identity theft because it includes an image of the signer,” Safedocs said.

The online notary process lets notaries identify signers using knowledge-based authentication, according to the company, and this reduces the chances of forgery that are inherent with validation documents such as drivers licenses.

Further reducing the chance of fraud during the notarization process is the inclusion of a digital recording of the transaction in the notary’s journal entry.

Safedocs, which has been promoting the adoption of compliant digital document workflows since the legalization of e-signatures in the U.S. in 2000, is currently developing an online notarization service to assist Virginia notaries with the new law. It will roll out the service first to business customers and then individual notaries.

“The new process will result in a secure alternative to paper notarization that is more convenient and more secure for consumers and businesses,” the company explained.

In June, Safedocs announced that it had incorporated the National Notary Association’s (NNA) secure eNotarization system into its product offerings. A key feature of the system is confirmation before signing of the notary’s electronic signature and commission status through the NNA’s National eNotary Registry.

“The Safedocs platform is fully-compatible with existing systems used by businesses for creating electronic documents and records,” said Safedocs president, Terry Van Bibber, in the announcement. “By fulfilling the need to electronically facilitate millions of loan modifications currently being handled by the lending industry, the system is ideal for use with eMortgage and real property transactions.”

No special training is necessary for notaries using the Safedocs system, the company noted.

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Edited by Brooke Neuman

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