News release: "The U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) has made available the health care reform bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives this past weekend in electronic form. The House floor debate leading up to the passage of the bill can be found in the Congressional Record. The authentic, electronic versions are available on GPO’s Federal Digital System (FDsys)...GPO authenticated the document by digital signature. This signature assures the public that the document has not been changed or altered. A digital signature, viewed through the GPO Seal of Authenticity, verifies the document’s integrity and authenticity." Direct links:
"After successful beta testing, GPO has integrated Authenticated Congressional Bills into the live Congressional Bills application on GPO Access at http://www.gpoaccess.gov/bills/index.html. Users of this application will notice digital signatures on bills from the 110th and 111th Congresses."
Matwyshyn, Andrea M., "Technoconsen(t)sus" (May 2006). Posted July 19, 2006 [Link to download]
The Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act ("ESIGN") went into effect on October 1, 2000. It provides that digital signatures are legally valid for use in commercial and government documents. However, compliance with the law has been slow at best, as courts and agencies such as the EPA continue to seek exemptions from implementing the technology.
The Department of Energy's CIO issued this report, E-Government Strategic Action Plan, A Roadmap for Delivering Services, which was digitally signed by Spencer Abraham, Sec. of Energy. The DOE is pioneering the use of digital signatures to facilitate the dissemination of official documents electronically, saving printing costs. The technology used is from Adobe Systems and Entrust CygnaCom.
A new article, Electronic Signatures: A Transatlantic Bridge? An EU and US Legal Approach Towards Electronic Authentication, provides a detailed analysis of how the two parties are approaching the issue of digital signatures in regard to the challenges presented by the e-commerce arena, based on the EU Directive on electronic signatures (1999) and the US E-Sign Act (2000).
This article focuses on the tremendous, time consuming challenges that journalists have had to face to for decades in their efforts to obtain access to federal and state government documents in accordance with theFreedom of Information Act (FOIA), Title 5 of the United States Code, section 552. Subsequent to 9-11, there has been considerable press related to broad brush decisions that have been made by government officials to either remove documents entirely from public access for security reasons, or severly limit their availablity to such an extent that one could grow quite old in the process of attempting to obtain specific materials.
The Electronic Financial Services Council is spearheading an initiative called SPeRS (Standards and Procedure for Electronic Records and Signatures) to create acceptable non-partisan guidelines for digital signatures in e-commerce transactions.