The Digital Signatures Act
April 27, 1999
Mr. GORDON (for himself, Mr. SENSENBRENNER, and Mr. BROWN of California) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Science
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United
States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the `Digital Signature Act of 1999'.
SEC. 2. RECOGNITION OF DIGITAL SIGNATURES.
(a) REQUIREMENT- To the extent that a Federal agency recognizes a written
signature as authenticating a document, the agency shall recognize a digital
signature as authenticating an equivalent electronically formatted document.
(b) EFFECTIVE DATE- Subsection (a) shall take effect 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act.
SEC. 3. DIGITAL SIGNATURE INFRASTRUCTURE.
(a) GUIDELINES AND STANDARDS- Not later than 6 months after the date of the
enactment of this Act, the Director, in consultation with industry, shall
develop digital signature infrastructure guidelines and standards for use by
Federal agencies to enable those agencies to effectively utilize digital
signatures in a manner that is--
(1) sufficiently secure to meet the needs of those agencies and the general
(2) interoperable, to the maximum extent possible.
(1) technical security requirements for digital signature infrastructure
products and services;
(2) validation criteria to enable Federal agencies to select digital
signature infrastructure products and services appropriate to their needs;
(3) minimum interoperability specifications for the Federal acquisition of
digital signature infrastructure products and services.
(d) REVISIONS- The Director shall periodically review the guidelines and standards developed under subsection (a) and revise them as appropriate.
SEC. 4. VALIDATION OF PRODUCTS.
Not later than 6 months after the date of the enactment of this Act, and
periodically thereafter as appropriate, the Director shall make available to
Federal agencies and to the public an evaluation of the conformance with the
guidelines and standards developed under section 3 of commercially available
digital signature infrastructure products, and other such products used by
SEC. 5. ELECTRONIC CERTIFICATION AND MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS.
(a) CRITERIA- Not later than 6 months after the date of the enactment of this
Act, the Director shall establish minimum technical criteria for the use by
Federal agencies of electronic certification and management systems.
(b) EVALUATION- The Director shall establish a program for evaluating the conformance with the criteria established under subsection (a) of electronic certification and management systems, developed for use by Federal agencies or available for such use.
(c) MAINTENANCE OF LIST- The Director shall maintain and make available to Federal agencies a list of electronic certification and management systems the Director has evaluated as conforming to the criteria established under subsection (a).
SEC. 6. REPORTS.
Not later than 6 months after the date of the enactment of this Act, and annually thereafter, the Director shall transmit to the Congress a report that includes--
(1) a description and analysis of the utilization by Federal agencies of
(2) an evaluation of the extent to which Federal agencies' digital signature
infrastructures conform to the guidelines and standards developed under
(3) an evaluation of the extent to which Federal agencies' electronic
certification and management systems conform to the criteria established
under section 5(a);
(4) the list described in section 5(c); and
(5) evaluations made under section 4.
SEC. 7. NATIONAL POLICY PANEL FOR DIGITAL SIGNATURES.
(a) ESTABLISHMENT- Not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of
this Act, the Under Secretary shall establish a National Policy Panel for
Digital Signatures. The Panel shall be composed of government, academic, and
industry technical and legal experts on the implementation of digital
signature technologies, State officials, including officials from States which
have enacted laws establishing digital signature infrastructures, and
representative individuals from the interested public.
(b) RESPONSIBILITIES- The Panel shall serve as a forum for exploring all relevant factors associated with the development of a national digital signature infrastructure based on uniform standards to enable the widespread availability and use of digital signature systems. The Panel shall develop--
(1) model practices and procedures for certification authorities to ensure
the accuracy, reliability, and security of operations associated with
issuing and managing digital certificates;
(2) standards to ensure consistency among jurisdictions that license
certification authorities; and
(3) audit standards for certification authorities.
(d) ADMINISTRATIVE SUPPORT- The Under Secretary shall provide administrative support to enable the Panel to carry out its responsibilities.
(e) REPORT- Not later than 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Under Secretary shall transmit to the Congress a report containing the recommendations of the Panel.
SEC. 8. DEFINITIONS.
For purposes of this Act--
(1) the term `certification authorities' means issuers of digital
(2) the term `digital certificate' means an electronic document that binds
an individual's identity to the individual's digital signature;
(3) the term `digital signature' means a mathematically generated mark
utilizing asymmetric key cryptography techniques that is unique to both the
signatory and the information signed;
(4) the term `digital signature infrastructure' means the software,
hardware, and personnel resources, and the procedures, required to
effectively utilize digital certificates and digital signatures;
(5) the term `Director' means the Director of the National Institute of
Standards and Technology;
(6) the term `electronic certification and management systems' means
computer systems, including associated personnel and procedures, that enable
individuals to apply unique digital signatures to electronic information;
(7) the term `Under Secretary' means the Under Secretary of Commerce for
News & Features
Current stories from the headlines and behind the headlines.
The daily schedules of House and Senate, major legislation, votes and more.
Links to vacancy announcements at dozens of agencies and military branches.
Huge Index of
Government Web Sites
One of the largest lists of agencies, bureaus and offices on the Web.
Online Government Services
From adopting wild horses to buying T-bills and bonds, the US Government is working to make more an more of its services available to Internet users. Try out E-Government now.
Find out about recent decisions and major cases now being considered by the Supreme Court. Includes links to texts of Court decisions and analysis by many of your About.com Guides and other major media sources.
...do lots of things involving the U.S. Government.
News and Features
The latest news and features on US Government Info/Resources.
You want Politics?
Guide John Aravosis is and insider who'll deliver all the politics you can handle.
Guide Rod Powers probably has the answers.
Keep up with the latest news about U.S. immigration laws and events with Guides Jennifer and Peter Wipf.
Just click on a topic to read or take part in the discussion.