An argument against electronic notary seals...

I argue that states should not require their notaries to use electronic notary seals, nor should they require notaries to include an electronic signature that looks like their handwritten signature.

First of all, once images of a handwritten signature or image that looks like a traditional paper notary seal has been recorded in the public records, it can easily be cut and pasted to forged documents, so they provide little security; they really provide an illusion of security.

Many documents that can support images and electronic signatures, such as Microsoft Word or PDF, can also contain embedded malware. A plain text file, on the other hand, when opened with a simple text editor such as Microsoft Notepad, will not automatically launch any malware. But plain text files do not support images.

By allowing esignature and enotarization methods that produce plain text signed and notarized documents, recipients who fear to open more sophisticated documents (and rightfully so) will be able, and hopefully, willing, to open plain text documents.

There are states that require electronic notary seals, but define the term in a way that the requirement can be satisfied with just text, no image required. In my opinion this terminology is confusing and it would be better to avoid the term "seal".

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