Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Electronic signature

The term electronic signature has several meanings. In recent US law, influenced by ABA committee white papers and the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (NCCUSL), electronic signature means "an electronic sound, symbol, or process, attached to or logically associated with a record and executed or adopted by a person with the intent to sign the record." This definition comes from the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act or "UETA" released by NCCUSL in 1999. The U.S. ESign Act of 2000 enacted on a federal level many of the core concepts of UETA. 46 US states, the District of Columbia, and the US Virgin Islands have enacted UETA.

The concept itself is not new. US and other common law contains references to telegraph signatures and faxed signatures, some as far back as the mid-19th century. For that matter, the text of, and comments to, US Federal Rules of Evidence 1001, 1002, and 1003, among others, give good support for the proposition that electronic records and signatures would be admissible in court.

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