Online notarization, whereby a notarial act is performed by means of two-way video and audio conference that meets standards for credential analysis and identity proofing as well as standards for equipment, security and certain technology, will be permitted in Texas as of July 1, 2018. Although some documents will still require notarization in person, this new rule will permit online notarization if the notary has personal knowledge of the person creating the electronic signature or if there is verification of (1) remote presentation by the person creating the electronic signature of a government-issued identification credential (i.e., passport or driver’s license) that contains the signature and a photograph of the person; (2) credential analysis of the credentials in (1); or identify proofing of the person described in (1).

The online notary public is required to take reasonable steps that the online notarization is secure from unauthorized interception. Also, the electronic notarial certificate must include a notation that the notarization is an online notarization. The online notary public will also be required to keep a secure electronic record of electronic documents notarized including (1) the time and date of the notarization; (2) the type, title or a description of the electronic document or proceeding; and evidence of (3) the identity of the principal person signing the electronic document; (4) recording of any video and audio conference involved; (5) the fee charged by the notary; (6) ensuring the integrity, security and authenticity of online transactions; maintaining a backup for the electronic record and protecting the backup record from unauthorized use.

Technology will continue to change areas of the law in many ways. For example, there has been a requirement that pleadings are to be filed electronically. Furthermore, some court hearings can now be handled remotely. Times are rapidly changing!

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