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 WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenWyden says foreign hackers targeted personal accounts of senators, staffers Some employees' personal data revealed in State Department email breach: report Hillicon Valley: North Korean IT firm hit with sanctions | Zuckerberg says Facebook better prepared for midterms | Big win for privacy advocates in Europe | Bezos launches B fund to help children, homeless MORE (D-Ore.), John McCainJohn Sidney McCainTrump administration weakens methane pollution standards for drilling on public lands Another recession could hit US in 2019, says credit union association chief R-E-S-P-E-C-T: One legacy of Franklin and McCain is up to us MORE (R-Ariz.) and Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) wrote to Commerce Secretary Penny PritzkerPenny Sue PritzkerElection Countdown: Trump plans ambitious travel schedule for midterms | Republicans blast strategy for keeping House | Poll shows Menendez race tightening | Cook Report shifts Duncan Hunter's seat after indictment Former Obama officials launch advocacy group aimed at Trump's foreign policy Trump transportation chief to join Biden for jobs event MORE 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.