E-Sign shouldn't bother states

The federal law authorizing electronic signatures and records should not

compromise most state efforts to protect electronic transactions through

similar means, according to an issues brief released Monday by the National

Governors' Association's Center for Best Practices.

State law will prevail in cases where state law overlaps the Electronic

Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (E-Sign), the brief explained.

Exceptions include instances where state law discriminates against signatures

or contracts created or maintained in electronic format or where it advocates

specific technologies and means to create such records.

Furthermore, E-Sign only validates the use of electronic signatures

and records in interstate or foreign commercial transactions. Government

procurement and contract actions specifically are excluded from the law,

which goes into effect Oct. 1.

The NGA paper was distributed at the National Association of State Information

Resource Executives' annual conference in Baltimore and is available at

www.nga.org. It offers the following prescription to states:

* Analyze existing electronic signature and record laws that could impinge

on E-Sign. Change any policies that detract from the accuracy, integrity

and accessibility of electronic records.

* Widely publicize the secure features of electronic signatures and

records so that people are not inhibited from conducting electronic transactions.

Lead by example and use those tools in state transactions.

* Don't slow electronic government and electronic commerce initiatives.

E-Sign is intended to promote the use and acceptance of electronic signatures

and records.

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