State laws win over E-Sign

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 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 went into effect Oct. 1.

The NGA paper was distributed in October at the National Association

of State Information Resource Executives' annual conference in Baltimore.

It is available at www.nga.org.

The paper 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 reluctant to conduct 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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