Lawmakers want more e-signatures

A bipartisan trio of lawmakers wants to know why people can’t sign more federal government forms electronically.

Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) wrote to Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker on Monday asking for an update on what the government is doing to get rid of wasteful and redundant paper signatures.

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“The acceptance of electronic documents has become a cornerstone of Internet commerce and is vital to our country’s economy,” they wrote. “We are concerned about the extent of the adoption of electronic signatures within the federal government.”

In 2000, the three lawmakers helped enact the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce (E-SIGN) Act, which made electronic signatures legally similar to handwritten ones.

But federal government agencies have been slacking on the switch over to electronic forms, they said.

“Electronic signatures have reduced paper burdens for consumers and streamlined business operations throughout the United States, providing remarkable consumer gains in terms of convenience, ease of use, transaction speed and reduced costs,” Eshoo, McCain and Wyden wrote.

“We believe the federal government can experience similar benefits by expanding the use of electronic signatures to improve efficiency, productivity and accountability throughout the government.”

They asked for a status update from the Commerce Department to determine how well agencies are implementing electronic signatures and how to encourage more to get onboard.