Digital Signatures Shaping ‘Stay-at-Home’ Economy


JANUARY 28, 2021

Jakarta, Increased digitization of business operations throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has brought the risk of hacking and data breaches to an all-time high. Electronic and digital signatures have begun to replace the “wet” signature, making tech startups such as DjelasTandatangan Bersama (DTB) specializing in online personal verification essential to businesses and consumers. 

Founded in March 2020, DTB came into Indonesia’s business sector at a pressing time in the nation’s digital transformation at the onset of the pandemic. DTB is the only digital signature company in Indonesia to have reached berinduk level of certification, the highest standard possible under the Communication and Information Technology Ministry. 

Chief Operations Officer Rionald A. Soerjanto is confident DTB is leading a change in shifting public perceptions toward the capacity for digital signatures to shape the way business can be conducted in the ‘stay-at-home’ economy, affirming the process as an important end-to-end solution cross industries and sectors.

“A digital signature is really different from an electronic signature, a lot of people think that it’s the same but it’s not the same. An electronic signature is where you digitize your signature online. But in Indonesia, a digital signature is actually like a digital ID. Maybe we don’t call it an ID, but what it actually does is your digital signature contains your ID - your real ID,” Rionald told Jakarta Globe in a recent interview.

Through advancements in data security technology, the sophistication of the certification and verification process of digital signatures is at an all-time high. Rionald explained that digital signatures can be likened to a driver’s license as a form of personal identification, though emphasized the additional levels of security involved in the digital format. 

Access is granted to encrypted data when the ‘public key’ and ‘private key’ are a match, guaranteeing with the highest level of certainty that the person holding the private key is in fact the legitimate owner of the account. The use of biometrics, physical tools of identity verification such as fingerprints and face scans, is considered the most secure two-factor authentication currently in use. 

As Rionald explained, a thief could enter a bank, but they can’t access your safety deposit box. While they can see that you have a safe in the bank, without your key or password, they cannot gain access.

Digital and electronic signatures are officially recognized in a court of law under Law No. 11 of 2018 on Electronic Information and Transactions as amended by Law No. 19 of 2016 (“EIT Law”), Government Regulation No. 71 of 2019 on Electronic Systems and Transactions and Communication and Information Technology Ministry Regulation No. 11 of 2018 on the Organization of Electronic Certification. 

Under this legislation, (i) the electronic signature creation data is specifically related only to the respective Signer; (ii) the electronic signature creation data during and at the time of signing process is within the sole control and power of the respective Signer; (iii) any changes to the electronic signatures occurring after the time signing can be known; (iv) any changes to the electronic information associated with the electronic signature after signing time can be known; (v) there is clarity on the method to verify and identify the Signer; and (vi) there is clarity on the method to verify and indicate that the Signer has granted approval to the relevant electronic information. 

If a digital signature is presented in a court of law, this legal framework supports its legitimacy. Rionald furthered this sentiment that due to the sophisticated verification process for using a digital signature, it is difficult for a person to deny that they were the signer. 

DTB Chief Executive Officer Alwin Kiemas said the app has been audited by the Communication and Information Technology Ministry.

“And, to be honest, it is the toughest audit I’ve ever been to in my life. The standard was really really high and I can confidently say that the standards of auditing to get the ministry’s certification, it’s world-class,” Alwin said. 

The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated digital operations like nothing else before, making online business dealings no longer optional but essential to the continuation of private and public industries. With this comes the increased risks of hacking.

E-commerce industries are a particular target of this offense. In May 2020, Tokopedia was the victim of one of Indonesia’s largest data security breaches in which email addresses and passwords of 91 million accounts were accessed and the information was sold online. 

This event raised alarm bells for various private industries looking to protect their user’s data. 

“What happened with Tokopedia or a lot of companies is that they actually store their passwords in one database. They put it in one barrel. For hackers, this actually becomes like a honeypot - you want to attack this,” Rionald said.

According to Rionald and Alwin, the best thing for users to do in protecting their data is to avoid filling out forms containing personal information where possible. In particular, using existing accounts across platforms such as your Google account to sign into secure, trusted platforms such as WhatsApp or Zoom is recommended. 

Instead of handing out your information to a new service, your encrypted existing data is instead transferred to the service you wish to access. However, they caution to use this only with reputable organizations users can be sure to trust, such as Facebook or YouTube, to lower the risk of their data being compromised.

Combatting fear among users will be a significant challenge to overcome, done only through adaptive legislative support from the government as the digital climate continues to change.

“As we move into the new digital future… the issue of data security is becoming more important,” Alwin affirms.

“At the end of the day… ensuring that money and everyone’s wealth is shared securely means that capitalism can work, online transactions can work.”