SAN JOSE, Calif. - The U.S. digital certificate market's revenues last year rose 114%, to $177 million, and will reach $4.9 billion in six years, according to Frost & Sullivan.

This year's passage of the Digital Signature Act, which grants electronic signatures on contracts the same legal stature as those on paper, is a central reason, the report said. Governments and financial institutions often pioneer the implementation of network security software, and their use paves the way for use in the private sector, the report said. All 50 states have enacted some type of legislation authorizing the use of digital signatures.

"The legislation evolving today illustrates the support and encouragement of the United States government to implement digital certificate solutions," said Jason Wright, an information technology analyst at Frost & Sullivan.

The financial industry will expose the digital certificate market to the general public Mr. Wright said. "Many businesses are quickly forced to implement the technology in order to communicate and conduct business with financial institutions."

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