The Federal Trade Commission and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration of the Department of Commerce (NTIA) will host a workshop April 3, 2001 from 8:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. to identify the benefits and burdens of the consumer consent provision of the new Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (ESIGN). The workshop will be held at the Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580.
A Federal Register Notice to be published shortly states that on June 30, 2000, Congress enacted ESIGN to facilitate the use of electronic records and signatures in interstate or foreign commerce and to remove uncertainty about the validity of contracts entered into electronically. Under the Act, businesses that are required to provide information to consumers in writing may provide consumers with that information using electronic records only if the consumer consents in a manner that reasonably demonstrates the consumer's ability to access the electronic record. ESIGN requires the FTC and the Department of Commerce to conduct a study of this provision and report to Congress by June 30, 2001.
Through the workshop and by seeking white papers and comments, the FTC and NTIA will seek to assess:
The Commission invites interested parties, including electronic commerce businesses, consumer representatives, law enforcers, regulatory agencies, and academics to submit written comments on any issue of fact, law or policy that may inform the study.
Six copies of written comments should be submitted to: Secretary, Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. 20580. An additional copy of written comments should be sent to: Sallianne Fortunato, National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), Room 4716, 14th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20230. Alternatively, electronic submissions can be addressed to "firstname.lastname@example.org" and "email@example.com". All submissions should be captioned "ESIGN Study-Comment P004102."
The Commission vote to publish the Federal Register Notice was 5-0.
Copies of the Federal Register Notice are available from the FTC's web site at http://www.ftc.gov and also from the FTC's Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580. The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop and avoid them. To file a complaint, or to get free information on any of 150 consumer topics, call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies worldwide.
(FTC File No. P00 4102)