We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
78,131 News Articles

US digital signatures bill signed

E-commerce encouraged as US falls into step with UK on cyber-laws

President Clinton has signed the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act, or E-Sign.

The law brings the US into line with the UK where the Electronic Communications bill, which legally recognises cyber signatures, was signed a few months ago. Both laws render digital signatures legally equivalent to those signed on paper.

E-Sign is expected to bolster e-commerce by eliminating companies’ fears about the enforceability of online transactions. It requires that consumers be given the option to receive documents electronically.

It also stipulates that consumers and businesses must be provided with the proper software to ensure that electronic documents can be received, opened and read by them, to make the documents legally binding.

Supporters say it will have a huge effect on business-to-business e-commerce by speeding up the ability of companies to do business with one another through online procurement exchanges and electronic marketplaces.

However opponents of the law have criticised it, stating it does not include enough protection for consumers. Many believe the door will be left open for fraudsters who are capable of illegally obtaining or counterfeiting digital signatures.

Margot Saunders, managing attorney for the Washington office of the National Consumers Law Center, said: “We think identity theft is going to go through the roof because of this. I would advise consumers not to agree to [the use of] electronic signatures unless they are biometrically produced.”


IDG UK Sites

OnePlus Two release date rumours: Something's happening on 22 July

IDG UK Sites

13in MacBook Air review, Apple's MacBook Air 2014 reviewed

IDG UK Sites

5 reasons to buy an electric car and 5 reasons not to

IDG UK Sites

Evernote Skitch: the best way for creatives to doodle feedback