We are still requiring notarization in 2012?

I thought we were past that. Anyway I used “SignNow’s online notary feature”:https://notary.signnow.com/, sadly “Docusign”:http://www.docusign.com does not yet have a notary feature.

So the way the SignNow feature is supposed to work is this — you upload a document, they throw you into a video chat with a notary, the notary asks you all the notary type questions, looks at your ID, accepts your signature, stamps the doc, and you are done. It could be a great convenience. And the people at SignNow were incredibly gracious, they are just rolling out this service, they worked super hard to make sure I was satisfied. I could hear the notary on the other end working with her tech support to solve issues as they cropped up.

But the stupid Adobe Flash in-browser video control is killing them. It would never work on my machine (Brand new macbook pro retina, google chrome). I restarted the browser to no avail. We finally go to the point where the notary could see me, and we could hear each other, but I could never see the notary, all I saw was a frozen Flash control. This isn’t the first company I’ve seen struggle with the Flash control, that thing is a killer.

But thanks to the diligence of the SignNow folks I did get a notarized doc and so my problem was solved. For their sake I hope they find a solution that doesn’t need this Flash thing. I assume they are completely nonstarters on the iPad.

The whole experience does make you wonder about the value of notarization, if you weren’t already wondering. Has this process really made my signature more trustworthy and reliable — I mean, the notary was in Virgina, attesting to my signature in Washington, for a lease document in California.

7 thoughts to “We are still requiring notarization in 2012?”

  1. sadly html5 didn’t natively address this. WebRTC is working on a solution, but as far as i can tell support is pretty spotty. the flash dependency isn’t’ going away for a while.

  2. Barf. The approval for webcam access never works well. If I was building a business involving video connections, i guess I’d have to build my own client wrapper or integrate with Skype or something. If I can’t get this working, I’m not sure most humans will

  3. A quick search on Adobe’s forums reveals that this is an issue across the board with all Retina MBP’s. The problem seems to be somewhere between the Flash stack and the drivers it uses for webcams as any Flash applet that uses the new MBP’s “FaceTime” camera has issues.

  4. Good find J. Maybe this will recover. Retina display machines have been out over a month tho, I would hope Adobe was all over it by now.

  5. Virginia is the only state that allows video notarization. The law may be read at http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?000+cod+TOC4701000

    The law isn’t easy to understand, but one possible reading is the ID used by the signer can’t just be an ordinary driver’s license, it must be an smart card issued to a federal employee or federal contractor. The law could be read to require the notary to not just look at the card on the web cam, but to interrogate the smart card using some kind of trustworthy card reader. If you look around the web, you can find quite a bit of controversy about this.

  6. Interesting. So that is why I had a Virginia notary. They only looked at my DL and didn’t do anything special with it. They do record the video of the entire transaction.

    I’d think that, rather than just trying to move the existing notary model to the web, that a new smart digital model should be created where a trusted and known third party digitally witnesses some transaction. I am sure I have not said anything original here, people must have proposed this years ago and someone must be working on it.

  7. Hi guys, Andrew from SignNow here. To address a couple points mentioned:

    1) We are constantly looking at new ways to improve video/audio and would love to reduce our dependency on flash over time. There is a high success rate now, despite occasional problems, but we are launching some updates to make this even more stable this week.

    2) Regarding identification, our notaries strictly follow the Virginia law, and identification is confirmed via knowledge based questions through a third part (Experian). Holding up a driver’s license is above and beyond.

    3) We appreciate the feedback and support as we grow our new notary service! Please reach out to us with any suggestions, we are continually striving to improve!

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