[thelist] legal contract signature online? (USA)

Lee Kowalkowski lee.kowalkowski at googlemail.com
Fri Sep 7 08:19:19 CDT 2007

On 07/09/2007, Darrell King <darrellgking at gmail.com> wrote:
> On 9/7/07, Stephen Rider <evolt_org at striderweb.com> wrote:
> > This would have to be a function that
> > obtains a legally binding "signature" from somebody coming to the site.
> >
> > The only example of this type of thing I can think of is the IRS
> > allowing "digital signatures" now for tax returns.
> >
> > Does anyone know about doing this?  Short of calling a lawyer, I'm
> > not even sure where to start...
> Since the value of the signature would presumably be its validity as legally
> binding in court, wouldn't it be logical to ask a lawyer - or even several
> lawyers? Are you sure you want to present our opinions to your client as the
> authority on the subject? You research should be billable, of course, so all
> you lose is a little time...

Since you put it that way, it's actually the client who ought to seek
the advice of a lawyer.  Don't use your own lawyer, the liability must
be on your client.

For tax returns in the UK, one can use a digital certificate for
authentication, but they are not mandatory (and digital certificate
take-up is poor).

Non-repudiation of a user's actions requires a combination of
appropriate terms and conditions (which you should definitely get the
wording from your client's lawyer), authentication & authorisation,
and auditing the actions of your user.


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