Companies Collaborate To Produce Electronic Signature Standards

Compiled By Jill Jusko A group of e-commerce and financial services companies are working together to develop a voluntary model Standards and Procedures for Electronic Records and Signatures (SPeRS). The project is expected to take nine months to one year to complete. Says Catherine Valentine, vice president and general counsel of Intuit Inc., Mountain View, Calif., and chair of SPeRS: "The goal of the SPeRS project is to create industrywide model standards and procedures for the presentation of information electronically, including electronic execution of signatures, record retention, printing and delivery of information. We are seeking to provide a reference guide for e-commerce participants, not a set of rigid rules." Among the issues the standards drafting committee will address are:

  • Development of "commercially reasonable" practices for establishing the identity of parties wanting to enter into an electronic account relationship;
  • Guidance regarding disclosure to consumers as required by the Federal Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act;
  • Practices for handling electronic signatures;
  • Guidance on how to display agreements and disclosures effectively; and
  • Record retention. Initial company members of the drafting committee include Adobe, Dell Financial Services, Ford Motor Credit Co., Intuit Inc., Ernst & Young, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and GE Capital Mortgage Co.
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