The journey to electronic authentication has just started!

Written by: Helene Cilliers (

Pretoria based company VIRTU@L DOCUMENTS has patented an innovative process that enables individuals and companies to do business and store documents in secure virtual environment and in a manner, which complies with the law.

The Electronic Communications and Transactions Act No. 25 of 2002 recognizes the legality of electronically signed documents as well as, under special circumstances, documents signed by accredited advanced electronic signatures.

But until now, advanced electronic signatures have not conformed to legal requirements due to the lack of accreditation.

In cases where an advanced electronic signature is not required, the use of any other electronic signature is legally valid. This fact is not widely known and accepted as yet. VIRTU@L DOCUMENTS’ patent and solution to this problem encompasses the use of a combination of existing technologies to authenticate individuals and certify documents electronically, giving them a secure electronic signature.

For a minimal annual fee, these individuals, or companies who appoint individuals, can subscribe to VIRTU@L DOCUMENTS’ services where they can store documents and proof of their authenticated identity in a safe and secure virtual environment.

The authentication process entails that the subscriber initially has a face to face meeting with an authenticator who compares the face of the subscriber to a photograph on an identification document, passport or driver’s license, which is captured electronically. The authenticator also scans the subscriber’s fingerprints. The bio-metric minutiae relating to the fingerprints, together with the electronically captured identification records, are then stored online in VIRTU@L DOCUMENTS’ secure repository and the authenticator affixes his unique real time electronic seal, generated by VIRTU@L DOCUMENTS, to the records.

The authenticator then awards a secure electronic signature, issued by VIRTU@L DOCUMENTS, to the subscriber.

To gain access to stored records the subscriber will have to use an e-mail address and password, as well as a random verification number and password transmitted via a SMS or by a token issued to the subscriber by VIRTU@L DOCUMENTS.

Some practical implications on electronic authentication

Because of VIRTU@L DOCUMENTS’ compliance to the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act No. 25 of 2002’s requirements for electronic records, third parties will be in a position to accept the authenticity of any records or documents which have been electronically signed by authenticated subscribers and stored in VIRTU@L DOCUMENTS’ repository.

Some practical implications are:

  • Travel agents who subscribe to VIRTU@L DOCUMENTS’ services can certify individuals’ travel documents which will be stored in VIRTU@L DOCUMENTS’ repository and which can be accepted by any third party as certified documents.
  • Authenticated business people who travel a great deal to and from meetings and who subscribe to VIRTU@L DOCUMENTS’ services can electronically  sign documents securely online and have access to them from anywhere in the world.
  • Companies can store documents such as annual statements and management documents in a secure environment and instead of having them printed and signed on every occasion when needed, the documents can be retrieved and accepted with ease by an electronic process which is economical and safe.

Business Opportunity

Authenticators and certifiers such as Notaries Public, chartered accountants or travel agents can earn fees by authenticating their clients or certifying documents and subscribing individuals to VIRTU@L DOCUMENTS’ services.


VIRTU@L DOCUMENTS ensures that all the processes offered through their services comply with all relevant laws as well as the codes of conduct by the various professional bodies to which the authenticators belong.

All authenticators and certifiers will have to undergo proper training in the processes that have to be followed in the authentication of individuals or the certification of documents.

VIRTU@L DOCUMENTS ensures high security in its technologies as well as its personnel. Even the technical staff and database administrators have to adhere to the stringent security measures imposed by VIRTU@L DOCUMENTS.

The identities of all VIRTU@L DOCUMENTS’ employees who perform trusted roles have been authenticated by a primary authenticator.

The identity of the first primary authenticator appointed by VIRTU@L DOCUMENTS is a Notary Public whose identity was authenticated by the Chairperson of the Information Technology Committee of the Law Society of South Africa.

In this article, we discuss why a secure environment is so important. 

The Future of electronic authentication

As more and more third parties and service providers begin to accept VIRTU@L DOCUMENTS’ protocol as a standard way of doing business online, it will open up the real possibilities of a paperless world.

If electronic authentication sounds interesting to you, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Keep IT Simple.


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