FEMA next in line for digital certificates

The Federal Emergency Management Agency became the second federal agency

to receive free digital certificates, the General Services Administration

said Tuesday.

FEMA was awarded 10,000 certificates to help move the agency to using electronic

signatures and to help eliminate paperwork, according to John Sindelar,

chief of staff at GSA's Office of Governmentwide Policy.

It is the second award by GSA. Earlier this week, the Department of Veterans

Affairs received 100,000 free certificates.

These are the first awards of digital certificates since President Clinton

signed the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act, or

E-Sign, into law on June 30 using the first digital certificate issued from

GSA.

The Veterans Benefits Administration will use digital certificates issued

under GSA's Access Certificates for Electronic Services contract in coming

months to help veterans apply for health and education benefits completely

online.

To encourage use of the signatures, which carry the same legal force as

pen-on-paper signatures, GSA is paying for 500,000 of them and will be awarding

them to qualified applicants.

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