[LINK] Does High Court GetUp result clarify e-witnessing? [was: High Court case Re: Register Online to Vote Should be Legal]

Stephen Wilson swilson at lockstep.com.au
Tue Aug 17 09:47:30 AEST 2010

Philip Argy 25/7/2010 wrote:
> Section 98(2)(b) of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 simply requires a
> claim form (in the approved form) to be "signed by the claimant".  I have
> little doubt that s. 10 of the Electronic Transactions Act 1999 enables that
> signing to be performed by electronic means.  However, and this aspect does
> not seem to have been much discussed, the immediately following subparagraph
> (c) requires the claimant's signature to "be attested by an elector or a
> person entitled to enrolment, who shall sign the claim as witness in his or
> her own handwriting".
> Whilst I have not seen exactly how the GetUp site was implemented, I'd be
> sceptical that a witness could satisfy that provision by using a mousepad.
> A proper signing tablet with stylus could possibly satisfy the requirement,
> and of course the physical requirement of witnessing of the claimant's
> signature also has to be met.
> So any legal challenge in my view is going to hinge on GetUp's ability to
> demonstrate that their system ENSURED compliance with s.98(2)(b) as well as
> the requirement for the claimant to sign
Hi Philip.

I wonder if you've had a chance to look at any of the detailed 
deliberations, now GetUp won this case, and if they clarify at all the 
legitimacy of witnessing performed 'electronically'?

I reckon witnessing is one of the missing pieces in e-signature 
practice, where we need some fresh technological solutions, and/or a 
review of why execution of certain documents needs witnessing in the 
first place. 



Stephen Wilson
Managing Director
Lockstep Group

Phone +61 (0)414 488 851

www.lockstep.com.au <http://www.lockstep.com.au>
Lockstep Consulting provides independent specialist advice and analysis
on digital identity and privacy.  Lockstep Technologies develops unique
new smart ID solutions that enhance privacy and prevent identity theft.

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