In apparent bids to promote the Internet, United States President Bill Clinton addressed the nation via the net for the second time in as many weeks, using the opportunity to also commemorate the recently signed electronic signature act.
True to his affinity for historical relevance, Newsbytes.com reported that Clinton likened his approval of the hard-fought legislation to the signing of the Constitution of the United States 213 years ago, pointing to an article in the historic document "the government shall make no laws impairing the obligation of contracts."
"James Madison called this contract clause a constitutional bulwark in favor of personal security and private rights," Clinton said in his Webcast speech broadcasted Saturday morning for the second time by Executive Branch Television, EXBTV.com, the same group that experienced a server crash during a Webcast of the actual signing Friday.
"He and his fellow Framers understood that the right of individuals to enter into commercial contracts was fundamental, not just for economic growth, but for the preservation of liberty itself."
Clinton said the new law would give fresh momentum to what is already the longest economic expansion in history, one driven by the growth of information technology and the Internet.
"Customers will soon enjoy a whole new universe of online services," Clinton said. "With the swipe of a smart card and the click of a mouse, they will be able to finalize mortgages, sign insurance contracts or open brokerage accounts."
Last week, Clinton held his "first-ever" national Webcast , in which he unveiled a series of e-government initiatives that the administration contends will make the federal government far more Internet-accessible. Clinton is also scheduled on July 14 to participate in an online town hall meeting with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, where the world leaders will accept screened questions from the general public via the Internet.
The new law gives online contracts the same legal force as equivalent contracts on paper. The law, over some state objections, supersedes about 40 state laws on digital signatures, pending the adoption of uniform standards under the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA), which not all states have yet adopted.
The majority of the law's provisions will go into effect on Oct. 1, followed by record retention provisions in March 2001 -- (Various Sources)
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