Clinton signs electronic signature bill—electronically

Clinton signs electronic signature bill—electronically

JUNE 30—The General Services Administration's Access Certificates for Electronic Services contract got a prestigious customer this morning when President Clinton signed a bill giving electronic signatures the same legal status as handwritten signatures.

Clinton signed the bill electronically using a digital certificate obtained under ACES.

"It's amazing to think that Americans will soon be using cards like this one for everything from hiring a lawyer to closing a mortgage," Clinton said as he swiped a smart card containing the digital certificate through a reader on a PC. Moments before, the president had signed a paper version of the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act using a pen.

"Just imagine if this had existed 224 years ago, the Founding Fathers wouldn't have had to come all the way to Philadelphia on July 4th for the Declaration of Independence. They could have e-mailed their John Hancocks in," the president quipped during the signing ceremony at Congress Hall in Philadelphia.

The bill doesn't address government specifically, but officials said the bill will give further credence to electronic-commerce initiatives.

"Government agencies will have the authority to enforce the laws, protect the public interest and carry out their missions in the electronic world," the president said.

More information about ACES is available at www.gsa.gov/aces.

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