President Signs Electronic Signatures Act
On June 30, 2000, President Clinton signed into law the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act. It had passed with overwhelming support from both parties in both Houses.
In an Internet Webcast
the next day, the President said that the almost unlimited potential in
the longest economic expansion in our history is "being held back, ironically,
by old laws written to protect the sanctity of contracts." These laws
require pen-and-ink signatures on paper documents for contracts to be
"Customers will soon enjoy a whole new universe of on-line services. With the swipe of a smart card and the click of a mouse, they will be able to finalize mortgages, sign insurance contracts, or open brokerage accounts.
"Just as importantly, the law affords consumers who contract on-line the same kinds of protections and records, such as financial disclosures, they currently receive when they sign paper contracts. Consumers will be able to choose whether to do business and receive records on paper or on-line. They will have the power to decide if they want to receive notice and disclosures electronically. It will not be their responsibility, but the company's, to ensure that the data sent to a consumer can be read on the consumer's computer. No more e-mail attachments with gibberish inside.
"Finally, government agencies will have the authority to enforce the laws, protect the public interest, and carry out their missions in the electronic world.
July 1, 2000
The President's Webcast was made from Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia.