Virginia moves toward digital signatures for government business

The Virginia Council on Technology Services (COTS) moved closer last week to embracing the use of digital signatures for government business.

The approved plan recommends the commonwealth start to use digital signatures on a limited basis in early 2000. The pilot installations will focus on government-to-government, government-to-business, and government-to-public transactions. Participants will include the Departments of Information Technology, Motor Vehicles and Transportation as well as Chesterfield County and Fairfax County.

"I am pleased with the critical mass that we will have in this first wave, with participants spanning the government spectrum, including state agencies, higher education and local governments," said Don Upson, Virginia's secretary of technology.

Virginia is the fourth state in recent weeks to adopt some form of digital signature resolution, following Minnesota, California and Pennsylvania.

If the pilot program succeeds, Virginia's General Assembly is scheduled to consider digital signatures in 2001. The plan can be viewed online at the COTS World Wide Web site at www.sotech.state.va.us/cots.

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