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Electronic Signature Standards Battle Looms in US

Tax-news.com

08 November 1999


A new bill to regulate standards for electronic signatures under consideration by the United States Congress, is heading for troubled waters. The "Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act" or 'E-Sign" bill as it is being called, aims to set a national standard for electronic signatures that would give them the same legal status as written signatures.

The bill has been roundly criticized byconsumer groups and legal experts in the US who have urged Congress to reject the bill. Leading e-commerce industry representatives have also sent a clear message that they feel the marketplace should determine e-commerce and internet standards and not Government.

Even if the bill is passed, the Clinton administration will have to face the added problem of conflicting overseas standards (particular in the EU which is developing its own standards) in an industry that is fast becoming global.

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