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Old article, but, the bill just passed!
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Digital signatures ahead
Bills wind through D.C., sparking mini rallies

By Emily Church,
CBS MarketWatch Dec 23, 1999
Digital signatures would be "steroids for the online financial services," Jim Lucier D.C. analyst

The Washington D.C.-based analyst for Prudential Securities is keeping an eye on the progress of a
new federal law that will create uniform standards for use of digital signatures to replace the pen signature.

Increasing interest in the issue is likely behind the run in VeriSign stock, which is trading at the
high end of its 52-week range, Lucier argues. Internet security company RSA Systems, also near its high,
is possibly another beneficiary. Entrust Technologies , Baltimore Technologies, Network Associates and
***Cybercash*** are also stocks with a digital signature play component, Lucier notes.

There are two bills on the subject and both have been passed by their respective houses -- the Millennium
Digital Commerce Act in the Senate and E-Sign in the House. The two are pretty close. Lucier thinks the
groundwork has been laid for a successful meeting in conference on the bills.

Wider acceptance of digital signatures could open the gates for the e-banks and brokers next year. The law
would be "steroids for the online financial services industry," says Lucier.
"The reason why is that (the e-brokers) can lead a customer up to the brink, but in virtually every case,
they have to wait two weeks until they mail the customer and the customers mail them back, whether it's to
open an IRA or to options trading."
Everyone in retail services knows you can't meet your entire demand with a "hesitation waltz" like that, he added.

Beyond the e-financial services, small and medium-sized businesses switching to digital signatures could move e-commerce
in unexpected directions, not in the least is procurement. What of electronic agents, or bots, that could search the Web,
find and purchase products that meet a company's specifications? Windows 2000 comes with digital signature and public key
encryption capability -- the basic tools for paperless operations, Lucier notes.

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