Every once in a while, some everyday situation, typically related to bureaucratic procedures, will take you back to the last century and realize the enormous absurdity of some practices that have not yet been eradicated, mainly due to custom, but which should have been for a long time.
For me, the clearest of them all is the signature. Do you really think, in the XXI century, that a signature of a person in a document shows something? Yesterday I had paperwork in a notary that was about to have to repeat itself and make me go through again simply because they had happened to give me a document to sign. A document in which I had, supposedly as proof of something, that I had stamped an absurd doodle that says absolutely nothing or proves absolutely nothing, except that someone gave it, many years ago, as supposed proof of my identity.
It is completely absurd. My signature proves absolutely nothing, and its use as evidence would have been eradicated a long time ago from legal and commercial practice. I can change it whenever I want, they can copy it or imitate it with total ease, they can digitize it without problems in the myriad of stores and screens where I have to try hard to do it every two minutes., and I can deny having done it whenever I wanted. It is one of the weakest and most absurd security elements that exist, but for some absurd reason, we continue to consider it a probative element, and attributing to the signing of a contract an element of ceremony, of supposed accreditation. In the current practice scheme, it is even more absurd: do I really have to believe that the signature I made in a deliveryman’s terminal certifies that I picked up a product sent to my house? It is completely absurd, anyone can sign and can make the scribble that it deems appropriate, and never serve to prove absolutely nothing. Is it worth something signing a credit card, or sign on a screen in a store, something fortunately in disuse? Most of the contracts that I signed for some time ago are simply copying my digitized signature and pasting it into a document in pdf or other format, something that other people I trust that have that file can do. Do you really get the illusion that this signature proves something? What is or should be the value of a signature? Years ago passed with the fax, still in use in some outdated companies … Why should a signature be valid for a contract of any kind through a fax?
We have to update many practices inherited from the past. That it is assumed that the boarding staff of an airport checks my identity when I access the plane looking at my identity card, when they have few fractions of a second to do so and could, in reality, carry the document of anyone, it is absurd as a method of verification. The facial recognition algorithm of my iPhone or the fingerprint sensor of other smartphones should have much more value when it comes to proving my identity than a physical document or an absurd scribble. In a world where 5 billion people out of the 5.3 billion people of age have a mobile phone device always on top, Should not we think about looking for ways to use it as a security token for more and more things instead of resorting to the useless and absurd scribble? Can we begin to apply common sense in these issues, update our practices, and leave us absurd and uncomfortable ceremonials that do not prove anything?
This post was previously published on www.enriquedans.com and is republished here with permission from the author.
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