Is AGPL a Scam? How Small Companies Can Maximize Benefits While Remaining Compliant

Navigating AGPL:

Strategies for Small Business Success

Navigating AGPL:

Strategies for Small Business Success

Is AGPL a Scam? How Small Companies Can Maximize Benefits While Remaining Compliant

May 3rd, 2024

Why Large Companies Avoid AGPL

The Affero General Public License (AGPL) is notorious for its strict terms, which can be a deterrent for large companies. For instance, Google has explicitly banned the use of AGPL software on its corporate servers due to concerns about the license’s requirement for source code disclosure whenever the software interacts with a network. This policy stems from the risk of inadvertently exposing proprietary software due to the AGPL’s broad scope of application.

Understanding the Differences Between GPL and AGPL

The General Public License (GPL) and the Affero General Public License (AGPL) are both free software licenses, but they address different concerns particularly around network use. The main difference lies in the AGPL’s response to the “network use loophole” present in the GPL. Under the GPL, modifications need to be shared if distributed, but mere use over a network does not count as distribution. The AGPL extends these requirements to network interactions: if you modify AGPL software and run it on a server for others to interact with, the source must be made available to all users.

The Grey Area and Covered Work: The AGPL’s definition of covered work includes not only the program itself but any modifications and additional elements used to interact with it over a network, such as APIs. This is crucial for cloud applications, where even if you do not modify the original source code directly, integrating it into a larger system or application still subjects the entire system—or the “separate project”—to the AGPL. This means that creating new functionalities that interact with the original AGPL-covered software, even if in a separate project, can be considered as creating a derivative work, thereby requiring the distribution of the entire project under the AGPL. This broad scope of “covered work” under the AGPL aims to ensure transparency and freedom of use over networks, but it also poses significant implications for how companies structure and manage their software development.

Strategies to Avoid License Contamination

For companies wishing to use AGPL software without risking their proprietary code, certain strategies can be implemented:

  • Separate Projects: Keep AGPL software and proprietary software in separate projects.
  • APIs and Command Lines: Interface with AGPL software through APIs or command-line scripts, which can help maintain a boundary between different software components.
  • Documentation and Disclaimers: Ensure that all API usage and the separation of the software are well-documented. Include legal disclaimers and user notifications about the use of AGPL software and what it entails.

Understanding Your Obligations

When using AGPL software, you must:

  • Provide source code to users interacting with the software remotely through a network.
  • Include a copy of the AGPL license and make it clear that the software is licensed under the AGPL.

You are not obligated to:

  • Disclose your proprietary source code that is separate and not integrated with the AGPL-covered software in a manner that constitutes a derivative work.
  • Provide support to network users of your project if your business model does not include offering professional services.
  • Provide the version history of your project; however, you must supply the latest version currently in use.


The AGPL is not a scam but a legal tool that enforces the free use and distribution of software. It is stringent, designed to ensure that freedom and transparency extend to the user of software over a network. For small companies, navigating the complexities of AGPL can be beneficial with the right legal understanding and use strategies, allowing them to use open-source software while protecting their proprietary developments.

Securing Your Trust: Signority’s Compliance Journey

Securing Your Trust: Signority’s Compliance Journey

October 5th, 2023

Signority’s security & compliance principles guide how we deliver our products and services, enabling people to simply and securely access the digital world.

Secure Personnel

Child & Family Services encompass an array of responsibilities, from safeguarding children against harm to providing necessary support to families in crisis. Each interaction, whether it’s an initial intake, assessment, or even volunteer onboarding, requires multiple layers of documentation. Historically, this has meant paper forms, manual logging, and significant administrative overhead.

The Practical Benefits of Signority’s Digital Approach

Signority takes the security of its data and that of its clients and customers seriously and ensures that only vetted personnel are given access to their resources.

  • All Signority contractors and employees undergo background checks prior to being engaged or employed by us in accordance with local laws and industry best practices.
  • Confidentiality or other types of Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) are signed by all employees, contractors, and others who have a need to access sensitive or internal information.
  • We embed the culture of security into our business by conducting employee security training & testing using current and emerging techniques and attack vectors.

Secure Development

  • All development projects at Signority, including on-premises software products, support services, and our own Digital Identity Cloud offerings follow secure development lifecycle principles.
  • All development of new products, tools, and services, and major changes to existing ones, undergo a design review to ensure security requirements are incorporated into proposed development.
  • All team members that are regularly involved in any system development undergo annual secure development training in coding or scripting languages that they work with as well as any other relevant training.
  • Software development is conducted in line with OWASP Top 10 recommendations for web application security.

Secure Testing

Signority deploys third party penetration testing and vulnerability scanning of all production and Internet facing systems on a regular basis.

  • All new systems and services are scanned prior to being deployed to production.
  • We perform penetration testing both by internal security engineers and external penetration testing companies on new systems and products or major changes to existing systems, services, and products to ensure a comprehensive and real-world view of our products & environment from multiple perspectives.
  • We perform static and dynamic software application security testing of all code, including open source libraries, as part of our software development process.

Cloud Security

Signority Cloud provides maximum security with complete customer isolation in a modern, multi-tenant cloud architecture.

Signority Cloud leverages the native physical and network security features of the cloud service, and relies on the providers to maintain the infrastructure, services, and physical access policies and procedures.

  • All customer cloud environments and data are isolated using Signority’s patented isolation approach. Each customer environment is stored within a dedicated trust zone to prevent any accidental or malicious co-mingling.
  • All data is also encrypted at rest and in transmission to prevent any unauthorized access and prevent data breaches. Our entire platform is also continuously monitored by dedicated, highly trained Signority experts.
  • We separate each customer’s data and our own, utilizing unique encryption keys to ensure data is protected and isolated.
  • Client’s data protection complies with SOC 2 standards to encrypt data in transit and at rest, ensuring customer and company data and sensitive information is protected at all times.
  • We implement role-based access controls and the principles of least privileged access, and review revoke access as needed.


Signority is committed to providing secure products and services to safely and easily manage billions of digital identities across the globe. Our external certifications provide independent assurance of Signority’s dedication to protecting our customers by regularly assessing and validating the protections and effective security practices Signority has in place.

Signority Acquires SOC 2, CSA Level 2, and HIPAA Compliance

Signority Acquires SOC 2, CSA Level 2, and HIPAA Compliance

October 3rd, 2023

Ontario, Canada, September 27, 2023 – Today, Signority celebrates achieving the SOC 2 Type II compliance, in line with the standards set by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), commonly referred to as SSAE 18. With an unqualified opinion supporting this achievement, Signority underscores its dedication to enterprise-level security, ensuring the safety of customer data within its system.

Furthermore, Signority has earned the CSA Star compliance, adhering to the Cloud Security Alliance’s Security, Trust, Assurance, and Risk Registry benchmarks.

With a global footprint, Signority provides a cloud-secured digital signature solution. Our platform’s security and compliance credentials were meticulously audited by the reputed Prescient Assurance, known for their expertise in B2B and SaaS sector assessments. We extend our gratitude to Secureframe for their pivotal support in this journey.

Our SOC 2 Type II and CSA Star audit certifications offer a solid reassurance to our existing and future clientele about Signority’s steadfast commitment to maintaining superior standards in security and compliance.

If you ‘d like to acquire Signority’s attestation letter, please reach out to

About Signority

Catering to a worldwide user base, Signority champions in providing leading-edge digital signature workflow solutions. We pride ourselves on ensuring legal compliance, efficiency, cost savings, and enhancing overall productivity for our clients.

Media Relations

Jane He

Digitizing Canadian Child & Family Services: Signority’s Impact

Canadian Child & Family Services:

A Digital Transformation

Canadian Child & Family Services:

A Digital Transformation

Digitizing Canadian Child & Family Services: Signority’s Impact

September 26th, 2023

Children represent the future, and families are the cornerstone of our society. In the heart of community resilience and strength lies Child & Family Services organizations. They play an indispensable role in ensuring the safety, health, and overall well-being of our most vulnerable members – our children. Yet, like many sectors with deeply embedded traditional processes, Child & Family Services have often been bound by paper-heavy methods, which can delay vital interventions and take crucial time away from direct service.

Signority: Transforming Child & Family Services with Digital Solutions

Child & Family Services encompass an array of responsibilities, from safeguarding children against harm to providing necessary support to families in crisis. Each interaction, whether it’s an initial intake, assessment, or even volunteer onboarding, requires multiple layers of documentation. Historically, this has meant paper forms, manual logging, and significant administrative overhead.

The Practical Benefits of Signority’s Digital Approach

Streamlined Consent Processes: Child & Family Services often require consent forms for various activities, including medical treatment, counseling, urgent response service plan (URS), and educational support. Signority’s digital signature solution simplifies the process of obtaining and managing these consents. Social workers can send consent forms electronically, and clients or guardians can sign them from anywhere, reducing delays and ensuring that necessary permissions are in place promptly.

Efficient Document Signing: Whether it’s agreements, service contracts, or parental consent forms, Signority enables Child & Family Services to send, receive, and sign documents quickly and securely. This efficiency is vital in situations where time-sensitive decisions must be made to protect the well-being of children and families.

Data Security: Signority hosts Canadian customer data exclusively within Canada. Our platform employs advanced encryption and security measures to safeguard sensitive information. Given that Child & Family Services handle confidential data daily, Signority’s robust security features, including masked tags for data security, guarantee that personal identifiable information (PII) remains confidential and fully compliant with data protection regulations.

Environmental & Cost Savings: By shifting away from paper-based processes, agencies can reduce their reliance on physical documents, saving money on printing, storage, and transportation. Additionally, this eco-friendly approach aligns with the broader societal trend towards sustainability.

Access from Anywhere: Signority’s cloud-based platform allows social workers and professionals to access necessary documents from anywhere with an internet connection. This accessibility ensures seamless service delivery, even when working remotely or in the field.

Efficient Onboarding: For Child & Family Services that rely on volunteers or need to conduct background checks, Signority’s digital signature solution streamlines the onboarding process. Volunteer applications and criminal record checks can be seamlessly integrated, ensuring that the agency has the right people on board quickly and safely.

Audit Trails for Accountability: Signority provides audit trails for every signed document, enhancing accountability and transparency within the organization. This feature is particularly valuable in cases where document validity and compliance are essential.

Faster Response Times: Digital signatures expedite the signing process. Social workers can get the necessary approvals in place swiftly, reducing response times and ensuring that children and families receive the support they need without unnecessary delays.

These benefits underscore how Signority’s digital signature solution is uniquely positioned to meet the needs of Child & Family Services by simplifying administrative tasks, ensuring data security, and enhancing efficiency in a sector where time and accuracy are critical for protecting vulnerable children and families.

Ultimately, the mission is clear. It’s not just about digitization for the sake of modernity. It’s about providing Child & Family Services with the platform they need to do their job more efficiently, so more time and resources can be allocated where they matter most: directly with children and their families.

By leveraging the power of Signority, Child & Family Services organizations can ensure that every child’s story is not just heard but also acted upon with the efficiency, care, and urgency it deserves.

Signority is proud to be a part of this transformative journey, offering solutions that make a tangible difference in the lives of many.

Educational Institutions Need to Implement eSignatures

Why Educational Institutions Need eSignatures

Educational Institutions Need to Implement eSignatures

In order to keep up with the ever-changing digital world, educational institutions need to implement eSignatures into their operations. Technology has had a tremendous impact on the education sector, and it’s important for schools and colleges to keep up with the latest trends. Electronic signatures are one of the many ways that institutions can modernize their processes.

Here are three reasons why eSignatures are so important for schools:

  1. Efficiency: When administration staff is bogged down with paperwork, it can significantly impact their ability to complete other tasks. eSignatures allow you to sign documents and approvals quickly and easily, without the need for a physical signature.
  2. Security: Documents signed with eSignatures are more secure than those that are not, as they cannot be tampered with or modified.
  3. Compliance: Many government agencies and organizations require electronic signatures for compliance purposes. Using eSignatures can help your school stay compliant with regulations.

Security wise eSignatures a lot more secure than paper. Paper can get lost, stolen, someone can copy it without someone knowing, and it can easily get damaged resulting in the loss of information.  The most secure signature is a Digital Signature. You can learn more about the differences between eSignatures and Digital Signature here.

To be compliant you have to follow certain guidelines and practices that your local governments or industry regulators have set up to ensure the security and safety of the documents and their signatures.

For example, some Canadian educational systems cannot have data that is stored off-site on a server that is located outside of Canada. The data also cannot go outside of Canada’s borders while in transit. This means you have to find an eSignature service like Signority

Signority guarantees your data stays safe and secure in Canada, both in transit and at rest. This means your student’s data will never travel or reside outside of Canada’s borders.

Now, let's look at efficiency.

When I think of paperwork and schools, as a parent, I think of registration forms and permission slips. Let’s use these as our use case.

Each year you have to confirm the number of students who will be returning as well as register any new students. What are some
of the issues you have probably faced when going through this process.

  •  A rush of last-minute parents coming in to register their child(ren) the week before school starts. 
  • Incomplete and missing paperwork with signatures in the wrong place.
  • Trying to get the signatures of both parents when they are divorced or separated. 

With an eSignature platform you can automate the whole process and ensure that all the information is given where it’s required. Now let’s see what the top 6 features that will help you the most.

  1. Automated workflow. With the automated workflow feature set who to send the document package to and in what order. Each recipient receives an email notifying them they have a document. You can even set up auto-reminders that go out if someone takes too long to sign.  
  2. Templates. Setting up the school registration forms as templates means you are always ready to go – all you have to do is enter the parent’s name(s) and emails. And if you need to do 2, 20, or 200 at once, use a bulk sign template to send them in less than 5 minutes! 
  3. Multi-document package. One document package can consist of the registration form health forms, the list of required supplies, and the waiver. Just upload whatever files you need in the package one at a time or using bulk select. They can even be different file formats. 
  4. Automated email reminders. Forget having to pick up the phone or send another email.  This feature allows you to determine when and how often the parents or school staff and officials will receive an automatic email reminder if they haven’t signed the document yet. This simple nudge encourages them to do their part while saving you time. 
  5. Template Link. Put a registration form on the school website so parents or students can register for an event. You can even put the registration form online for new student registrations. 
  6. Masked Tag: A masked tag will take any information entered into it, encrypt it, and conceal it from everyone in the workflow. This feature is especially useful for a student’s personal information like their health card numbers, student numbers, etc.

Having and using these six features in any eSignature platform can save you and your staff time and increase productivity.

BONUS - you help save the planet

There is one more really big benefit to using eSignatures.  Sustainability.  How much paper and printer/copier ink do you go through each year?  I encourage you to check your budget. I’m sure you will find on the paper side, it’s a lot of trees. Remember, “Today is the opportunity to build the tomorrow you want.” ~ Ken Poirot.

Finally, I would like to ask you to consider the other savings you get along with eSignatures being a green technology. You save time and money.

Consider the time it takes to: 

  • chase people for the signed documents,
  • having someone travel to deliver the document,
  • and then filing the document or scanning it back into your system.

Adopting eSignatures into your operations saves an average of $20 per document. Think about that. They save you time, money, and the environment.  But don’t take our word for it, see for yourself with this article on

If you would like to learn more about eSignatures and the features available that may help you Signority’s tutorial page is a great resource.

And to see how well an eSignature Platform would work for you then I encourage you to take advantage of our free no obligation 2-week trial.

Look for my next blog where I write about Working from Home and eSignatures

Have a great week everyone

How we interpret Customer Success

Nobody can deny Farm Boy, a local Ontario grocery store, of its food’s freshness and the quality. It’s my favorite place to shop with plenty of varieties for all occasions, and they’ve always got something for when I can’t come up with a dinner idea; daily fresh made soups, sandwiches, duo or trio ready-to-go meals. The bakery has all types of breads, the butchery section is filled with marinated shish kebabs, tasty sausages, and other delicious meaty foods. When holidays come, they even offer family meal kits. Farm Boy is more than a grocery store to me. It provides me with meals-on-the-go that are healthier and higher quality than what you might get at many restaurants. By now, you should be getting an idea of what kind of the store Farm Boy is. But it goes even further. One day I was there looking for ground pork. Although I had seen Farm Boy selling ground pork before, it wasn’t something that they sold every day. That day, they didn’t happen to be selling any. Tough luck. Not expecting anything, I decided to ask a staff member beside me who was placing meat packages on a shelf. To my pleasant surprise, she said, “We don’t have any today, but I can ground what you’ve selected while you finish your shopping. Just come back in 5 minutes”.

COVID-19 has changed the way we live dramatically. Churches having to go online overnight, 80 year old parents learning how to use Zoom to connect with their families, businesses switching to a completely remote workplace. Our lives are all becoming digital. Customer support especially. These days, a large portion of customer support services are automated through the use of AI chatbots and answering machines. Sometimes I feel like I’ve won a lottery when I call a hotline and have a human answering on the other end of the line. Automation is great for the service providers employing them, but what about for the customers? Is it better to give our customers a “take it or leave it” attitude that often comes with automated support? Or should we tune-in to their problems? Although many Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) providers may see it as costly and inconvenient to provide personal support to customers, at Signority, we believe that it’s a key component to Customer Success.   

When a customer stumbles upon a problem, it’s important to clear their questions as soon as possible, regardless of the size of the customer. That’s why, when you contact Signority’s customer support, whether you need help finishing an online contract signing process, or have questions about how to set up an electronic signature, you will have a real human answering the line. 

Our support response times are posted on our website, but we have been delivering support much faster and aim to continue to do so in the future. We also believe in listening to our customers. Customer requests are directly handed off to the product development cycle. Our product roadmap is based on our customers’ needs. 

This is how we operate at Signority; personally connecting with our clients to ensure their success. After all, there is no better reward for a company than loyal customers who are successful.

Jane He, CEO


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