Delaware OKs digital signatures bill
- By Daniel Keegan
- Jul 17, 2000
Delaware Gov. Thomas Carper signed a bill that makes digitally signed documents
as legal as traditional ones, joining other states in adopting the uniform
Following President Clinton's signing of similar federal legislation earlier
this month, Carper signed the bill Friday and sent it to the legislative
council by e-mail, verifying it with a digital notary. Digital notaries
are similar to signatures in that they verify documents, but they fix the
exact content of a document, including the digital signature, at a specific
time. Unlike digital certificates, digital notaries do not expire.
Jim Smith, the governor's deputy press secretary, hopes Delaware's Uniform
Electronic Transactions Act (House Bill 492) will promote electronic commerce.
"This will remove the barriers from digital contracts, which many companies
are already using," Smith said.
Mark Headd, a policy advisor for the governor, said the law will particularly
help the state because Delaware has half the world's Fortune 500 companies.
"Delaware is the home to many companies, and many are using digital signatures
already," he said. "Now, if they have contracts with other firms, this will
The National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws developed the legislation, which many states have adopted. Smith said that
the document was digitally notarized to showcase a more secure digital verification
The bill-signing ceremony was also Web-cast at the state's World Wide Web
site (www.state.de.us) and Surety.com's site, the company
that provided the digital notarization product for the governor.