Salt Lake County introduces digital signatures

The Salt Lake County Recorder's Office demonstrated the state's first paperless,

legally binding transaction of a real estate document June 20. The office

will now begin to teach companies about the process, introducing it into

the mainstream.

Three local title companies participated in the ceremony by digitally

signing the documents and sending them to County Recorder Nancy Workman,

where the documents were recorded. Workman then digitally signed the documents

and sent them to the indexing department, where they were automatically

abstracted, stored and returned to the title company.

"What normally takes two to three hours now can be done in 15 minutes — and it can be done from your home," said Andrew Harper, technology administrator

for the office.

Utah passed digital signature legislation in 1995. On Friday, the U.S.

Senate approved a bill that gives digitally signed documents the same legal

status as written ones.

Harper said he expects the office to conduct several seminars to teach

banks, title companies and others about the technology and recommend software.

He said he hopes that more companies will use the service by Aug. 1.

InGeo Systems is supporting the electronic transactions, ensuring their

security. The software is designed so that if it detects that a document

has been altered, the document is rejected and returned to the sender. USERTrust

Inc., Digital Signature Trust Co. and Arcanvs Inc. provided digital certificates

that are used in the digital signature process.

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