Reps. Richard Baker, R-La., and David Dreier, R-Calif., have introduced legislation that would allow digital signatures to be used for transactions with the federal government.
The legislation would also establish a National Association of Certification Authorities to set standards and to license groups that provide digital signature authentication services.
Digital signatures are codes that can be used in lieu of written signatures for on-line commerce.
"Authenticating the identity and the 'signature' of parties using computers has become a major concern," Rep. Baker said in Nov. 8 written statement. "Unless a reliable alternative to written signatures is acknowledged, the promise of electronic commerce will not be fully realized."
Financial services firms have been pressing for federal legislation that would set uniform standards for digital signatures, preempting various state laws that allow their use.