Updates to the E-SIGN Act, enacted in 2000, is necessary due to technology developments over the past 20 years, CUNA wrote to Senate Commerce Committee leadership Tuesday. The committee is expected to conduct a markup of legislation this week that includes the CUNA-supported E-SIGN Modernization Act.
“Because the E-SIGN Act was designed in the commercial Internet’s infancy, updates are needed to ensure efficient commerce over today’s much more mature and capable Internet,” the letter reads. “The E-Sign Act favors document delivery requirements on paper-based processes over the equivalent digital delivery methods. The necessity of this choice was debatable 20 years ago when nascent Internet standards could make receiving electronic documents more difficult than traditional paper-based delivery methods but is now outdated and even counterproductive when digital delivery methods are mature and reliable.”
Specifically, the bill would remove the requirement in the E-SIGN Act requiring consumers to reasonably demonstrate their ability to access information electronically prior to consenting to electronic records.
“We realize that some consumer groups will argue the E-SIGN Modernization Act will harm consumers, but this is not true. Disclosures required by law will still be provided to consumers with the substantive change being that outdated delivery requirements will be modernized,” the letter adds. “In the time of COVID, possible mail disruptions and the ubiquitous smartphone, mandating a particular delivery method is not necessary and possibly harmful to consumers. The true consumer harm is from the current laws barriers to consumer choosing electronic delivery, which is the safest and most efficient way to receive documents.”