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November 2, 1999

US Congress Rejects Measure to Legalize Digital Signatures

By CBR Staff Writer

The US House of Congress has rejected a measure that would have endorsed the use of digitally signed documents in government transactions. The final count was 234 to 122, but the Tom Bliley-sponsored bill needed a two-thirds majority to pass. After publicly acknowledging the need for electronic signature legislation, the Clinton administration decided consumer protections in the final version of the bill were too weak, and pulled its support. The administration was also unwilling to pre- empt decisions now being made by individual states. Many states, including California, have already approved the use of digital signatures in state transactions.

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