Recommendations for capturing signatures digitally to optimize their suitability for forensic handwriting examination

Barbora Geistová Čakovská, Nikolaos Kalantzis, Tomasz Dziedzic, Carina Fernandes, Jan Zimmer, Maria João Branco, Jonathan Heckeroth, Kristofer Axelsson Spjuth, Erich Kupferschmid, Paolo Vaccarone, Axel Kerkoff


The use of digitally captured signatures in everyday course of business increases annually and, compared to pen and paper signatures, provides various advantages concerning the administration of documents. These signatures may also become subjects of a forensic handwriting examination and, therefore, in order to optimize their suitability for this purpose, they should satisfy several requirements. This paper presents recommendations drawn up by forensic handwriting examiners associated with ENFHEX (ENFSI) in a project aimed at defining best practices in forensic examination of digitally captured signatures. The paper is dedicated mainly to hardware and software developers, providers, and user institutions of digitally captured signature technologies to improve their practice to a level optimized for forensic handwriting examination. The most important requirements outlined in this paper concern digitally captured signature data, hardware, and software used to acquire these data, as well as optimized signing conditions. Following these requirements ensures the suitability of signature data for forensic handwriting examination and, consequently, increases the reliability of the associated electronic documents. In spite of rapidly evolving technology, they can serve as a solid basis for understanding and consideration of the optimal use of digitally captured signatures for signing electronic documents.