August 4, 2014

Adoption of Electronic Signatures will Greatly Improve Government Productivity

From: TechAmerica Policy Blog

by Michael Spierto, Director of Cybersecurity Policy, TechAmerica

In a letter dated July 14 2014, US Senators John McCain and Ron Wyden, and Congresswoman Anna Eschoo wrote to the Secretary of Commerce asking for an update on the implementation of the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce (E-SIGN) Act. The law was enacted in 2000, but fourteen years later it appears that all government agencies have still not fully implemented this law. The question is: why?

Since the Jimmy Carter Administration, lawmakers have been eyeing ways to reduce and eliminate redundant and burdensome bureaucratic hoops that businesses and ordinary American citizens have had to jump through to comply with government mandates. The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs was established for this purpose under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1980. It was within this spirit that in 1998 Congress passed the Government Paperwork Elimination Act. The law required federal agencies to allow the use of electronic signatures when accepting electronic forms.


The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) lists some of the benefits of e-signatures as transaction speed, customer satisfaction, record efficiency, increased productivity, better access to information for the American public, and enhanced security of transactions and sensitive information. In essence, OMB is suggesting that many of the major criticisms of bureaucracy can be vastly improved with full adoption of e-signatures by federal agencies.

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