FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - March 29, 1996
Lowry signs "digital signature"
OLYMPIA - Imagine being able
to complete a transcontinental business agreement, signature and
all, via personal computer. Using state-of-the-art technology,
Gov. Mike Lowry today signed legislation to enhance international
and domestic trade in Washington through the use of "digital
signatures" in electronic transactions.
Senate Bill 6423, known as the Washington Electronic Authentication
Act, provides a secure and convenient way for businesses to electronically
transfer contracts, letters of credit, payments and other formal
documents which in the past have required a written signature.
To demonstrate the technology, Lowry and Secretary of State Ralph
Munro approved an electronic version of the bill using the digital
"I am proud to usher our state into a new technological
era," Lowry said. "We are now one of the first states
to create a protocol for the use of electronic signatures in commerce;
I'm sure this will be a great asset to our growing stature in
The legislation was proposed by the Secretary of State's office,
which has worked with other states to ensure that standards for
digital signatures are uniform and consistent across the country.
"The availability of this electronic transfer process will
help attract foreign companies who are looking for trading partners
in the United States," Munro said. "With this protocol
set in place, firms from other countries will view the state of
Washington as a convenient and accessible place to do business
The law authorizes businesses and organizations to obtain a special
digital code for use as a "signature" in electronic
transactions. The secretary of state will license private vendors
to verify the codes upon receipt of an electronic document. Also,
the state Department of Information Services (DIS) will work with
the secretary to identify areas where digital signatures can be
used to increase the efficiency of state government.
"This technology opens up a whole new range of possibilities
for government to change the way it does business," DIS Director
Steve Kolodney said. "We will take the necessary steps to
develop a statewide infrastructure to enable electronic commerce
for both the public and private sectors."
For more information, contact the Governor's Communications Office at 360-753-6790 or Linda Mackintosh at the Secretary of State's Office at 360-753-2896.