Timestamping Authority (TSA)

by Freelancer Freelancer

Forensic Notes proudly uses DigiStamp as our
trusted & independent Timestamping Authority (TSA)

DigitStamp generates RFC 3161 Timestamps which are
trusted by global banks and governments throughout North America

RFC 3161 Timestamp


The RFC 3161 Protocol states that a trusted timestamp is a timestamp that should be issued by a Trusted Third Party (TTP) acting as a Timestamping Authority (TSA).  The Timestamp proves that data (files, text, etc.) existed before a particular time.

Forensic Notes proudly uses DigiStamp as its Trusted Third Party Timestamping Authority (TSA).

Timestamps are generated in 3 easy steps…


1. A Hash is generated from your note and attachments


The note and attachments you enter within the Forensic Notes application is analyzed by a hashing algorithm which generates a SHA-2 Hash (digital fingerprint). This SHA-2 Hash uniquely identifies your note and attachments.

Hashing – What is it?


A SHA-2 Cryptographic Hash is a one-way encryption algorithm which cannot be decrypted into the original string or document. Cryptographic hashes are sometimes referred to as a Digital Fingerprint. A Cryptographic Hash is a one-way encryption algorithm which cannot be decrypted into the original string or document. Cryptographic hashes are sometimes referred to as a Digital Fingerprint.

Video Source: https://www.professormesser.com/

2. The SHA-2 Hash (digital fingerprint) is sent to our Trusted Timestamping Authority (TSA)


Digital Timestamp Certificate (RFC 3161) is a document that shows the date and time when the timestamp was created and the associated Hash value (digital fingerprint) of your document.

NOTE: Only a cryptographic one-way hash of your document is sent to the Trusted Timestamping Authority (TSA) which does not allow reverse decryption of your document. Your original document remains securely stored on Forensic Notes servers and is never transmitted.

Hash value (Digital Fingerprint) is sent to our Trusted Timestamping Authority

3. The TSA sends back the Digital Timestamp Certificate (RFC 3161) to Forensic Notes


The Digital Timestamp Certificate (RFC 3161) is then stored along with your original note and attachments, encrypted within the secured Forensic Notes database. When your note and attachments are combined with this Digital Timestamp Certificate, you have what we call a Forensic Note!

Trusted Timestamping Authority (TSA) send back the RFC 3161 Timestamp

Long Term Archiving (LTA)


Forensic Notes takes this process one step further…


To ensure your documents are accepted in the courts now and into the foreseeable future, Forensic Notes will further encapsulate your existing Digital Timestamp Certificates with newer timestamps as technology advances or if your timestamp is set to expire. This Long Term Archive (LTA) feature will allow Forensic Notes to preserve any kind of electronic file indefinitely. Integrity is accomplished through protection measures based on logical timestamp chains.

Long Term Archiving (LTA) of Forensic Notes

Forensic Notes does everything it can to ensure the information and documents you trust within the Forensic Notes’ system can be trusted within the courts now and into the foreseeable future.

DigiStamp TSA – Details


Forensic Notes uses DigiStamp as its Trusted Timestamp Authority (TSA) partner. DigiStamp has been operating in Dallas, Texas since 1998 with Timestamp servers in both Dallas and Chicago.

DigiStamp works with global banks, governments and biotech’s who utilize DigiStamps services to ‘notarize’ their electronic documents.

DigiStamp has issued millions of timestamps since its inception and not a single timestamp has ever been challenged as a result of adherring to the strict standards set out within RFC 3161.

FIPS 140 - Level 3 Validatd

Certified Hardware

DigiStamp uses Hardware Security Modules (HSMs) which are FIPS 140 Level 3+ certified. DigiStamp’s data centers are SOC-1 SSAE 16 certified.

Physical Security

DigiStamps server locations are physically protected from unauthorized access.

Physical Security

Logical Security

Logical Security

The IBM Timestamp Servers have been specifically designed to detect any attempts to tamper with the equipment. If tampering is detected, the servers automatically stop issuing further timestamp certificates.

Failsafe & Reliable

DigiStamp Timestamp Servers have been in existence since its inception with nearly 100% uptime while issuing millions of Digital Timestamp Certificates.

Failsafe and Reliable

High Availability

High Availability

Redundant, geographically separated servers are used to ensure high availability of DigiStamp Timestamping Service. In the event of a server being temporarily unavailable, Forensic Notes will automatically failover to another server.

Secure and Reliable Time Sources

DigiStamp Timestamp Servers use an internal clock which cannot be adjusted more than 50 seconds in any twenty-four hour period in order to achieve +/- 1 second accuracy. Every adjustment made is logged and signed with the TSA’s audit certificate. Clock settings use a variety of sources including multiple UTC sources provided by NIST and the USNO which are further confirmed against EU-trusted sources.

Secure and Reliable Time Sources

What this means for you, as a client of Forensic Notes, is a system which is secure with built-in data redundancies,andirrefutably accurate within criminal and civil court.

Understanding the Timestamping Process

Understanding the Timestamping Process
* Image courtesy of DigiStamp

To view a detailed explanation as explained by DigiStamp, visit:

How a Digital Timestamp Works

1) Timestamping is often written as Time Stamping
2) Timestamp is often written as Time Stamp

For consistency, Forensic Notes will attempt to always use Timestamp and Timestamping instead of Time Stamp and Time Stamping.

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