August 30, 2002
Ranjit de Silva, 202-482-7002
NTIA REQUESTS COMMENT ON EXCEPTIONS TO THE ESIGN ACT
The Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) today released public notices requesting comment on two of the nine exceptions to the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce (ESIGN) Act. The ESIGN Act, passed in 2000, requires that electronic signatures, contracts, and records be given legal effect, validity, and enforceability. Contracts and records related to nine areas are excepted or exempt from the provisions of the Act.
Congress directed NTIA, in the ESIGN Act, to review these nine exceptions over a three-year period to determine whether they continue to be necessary for consumer protection. The exempt documents are: court records; wills and testamentary trusts; domestic and family law records; contracts governed by certain provisions of state commercial law; cancellation notices for utility services; cancellation notices for health or life insurance benefits; real property foreclosure, eviction, and default notices; product recall notices; and hazardous materials and dangerous goods shipping papers.
The public notices released today request comment on the court records and hazardous materials notices exceptions to the Act. NTIA will publish notices on the other seven (7) exceptions within the next few weeks, and a notice for each of the nine exceptions will be available, along with the comments submitted in response to the notice, at NTIA's website: http://www.ntia.doc.gov. Each notice regarding the evaluation of the ESIGN exceptions also will be published in the Federal Register. The Federal Register announcement may be found at http://www.ntia.doc.gov/ntiahome/frnotices/2002/esign/index.html.