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Electronic Signatures in International Contracts


Carolina Monica Laborde

Electronic signature legislation seeks to facilitate e-commerce by providing an electronic equivalent to handwritten signatures in paper-based contracts. However, electronic signature legislation enacted in the past years in different jurisdictions has followed a dissimilar approach. In light thereof, this book analyzes the legal validity of electronic signatures in international contracts potentially subject to divergent electronic signature regulation. To this end, four major issues are addressed: the technological and legal concept of electronic signatures; the legal regulation of electronic signatures; the determination of the electronic signature legislation that will be applicable to an international contract; and, finally, the implications of applying one electronic signature law or another. The research covers the laws of Argentina, Germany and the United States of America as well as international conventions.


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Chapter 5: Argentina 83


Chapter 5: Argentina A. Norms before the enactment of the Argentine Digital Signature Act Since the mid 1990s the Argentine legal system has had norms of different rank dealing with the issue of electronic signatures.222 These norms paved the way for the enactment of the Argentine Digital Signature Act.223 I. Resolution 45/1997 of the Secretary of Public Function224 Resolution 45/1997 authorizes the use of digital signatures for the public administration; however, it does not regulate digital signatures but only allows their application within the public sector. Furthermore, Resolution 45/1997 adopts the conclusions of the Cryptography and Digital Signature Subcommittee on the technical requirements for prospective digital signature regulation. The Cryptography and Digital Signature Subcommittee concluded that legislation shall put digital signatures on the same level as handwritten signatures. Moreover, digital signatures are to be based on asymmetric or public key cryptography organized within a public key infrastructure. Yet, it was advised that digital signature legislation ought not to refer to only one technology. How to conciliate both ideas? The Subcommittee regarded the public key mechanism as a mathematical method and not as a technology. Therefore, it is possible, according to their view, that new efficient algorithms be found but that they continue to be based on a public key mechanism. Resolution 45/1997 is a clear example that, from the beginning, Argentine law has focused on digital signatures and public key infrastructure. II. Resolution 293/1997 of the Superintendence of Retirement and Pension Fund Administrators225 Resolution 293/1997 sets forth a telecommunication system...

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