This thought came to mind while watching the Count of Monte Cristo tonight. I just finished the book and enjoyed it so much decided to Netflix the French version with Gerard Depardieu. No need to rent it as the story does not follow the book very well and being such a great book no movie could ever do it justice.
Anyway, there is a scene in the movie where Morrell explains to Maximilian that a signature is an extension of a handshake, which confirms your “word” your promise, your very honor that, for your part the agreement will be respected.
The signature used to be unique and only you could sign yours. Therefore, when you put the pen to paper it was a promise, unique to you simply because nobody else could make your signature the way you do.
Well, with technology it seems the importance of the signature has lessened a little bit. After all, most transactions are done electronically now and a signature could be copied very easily. All you need is an electronic version of the original and then could create as many copies as you wanted.
If I recall correctly people were a bit hesitant to sign on those electronic pads for companies to capture and retain their personal signature. It would appear that this apprehension has disappeared.
But it never did for me. I still do not like the fact that companies can retain my signature indefinitely. So, when I am forced to sign that electronic pad I usually just make a scribble.
I wonder if this is legal. If it were illegal, I wonder if a case could be made to challenge the company retaining my signature as misuse could be very high. After all, the signature belongs only to me and by the company retaining it might be akin to giving the company a blank check on my behalf.
I’m sure these legal issues were resolved a while ago in the interest of commerce but a law is only valid as long as the legal community wishes it to be so and could always be challenged.
Anyway, that is what was going through my head tonight.