[LINK] Electronic witnessing [was: High Court case Re: Register Online to Vote Should be LLegal]

Stephen Wilson swilson at lockstep.com.au
Mon Jul 26 15:33:24 AEST 2010

Philip Argy wrote:
> Section 98(2)(b) of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 ... 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
Is there any good practical example anywhere of using an electronic 
signature to witness another electronic signature? 

The conspicuous absence of electronic witnessing seems anomalous to me.  
There was extensive and intensive theoretical analysis (and 
over-analysis in my view) in the mid-to-late 1990s of signatures, laying 
the foundations for contemporary e-transaction law and the principle of 
media equivalence.  Some lawyers were attracted to "signature dynamics" 
technology for it was said to involve more overt "ceremony"; the WYSIWYS 
(what you see is what you sign) issue was a nice problem.  With all that 
work, you would expect proposals for witnessing to have emerged, but I'm 
not aware of any.



Stephen Wilson
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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