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Framework For Global Electronic Commerce an article by U.S. President Clinton and Vice-President Gore. It provides an overview of Electronic Commerce with roles defined for the government and private sector industry. http://www.iitf.nist.gov/eleccomm/ecomm.htm

E Commerce sites

http://www.gtlaw.com.au/ecomm/ecomm.html
http://www.sea.net.au/electronic_commerce/ecommerce_news/

Forms E Commerce

XFA, XFDL, and HTML forms

I haven't detected any real overwhelming momentum at W3C to launch an ambitious e-forms standardization project, although I seem to recall that some WG or other has the mandate to enrich & extend HTML forms.

We (JetForm) wish to not require form data to be anything more than well formed XML. There is a whole range of initiatives springing up around schemas and data definition -- not something I want to get in the way of. I expect that this bubble of extreme growth will pop in the not too distant future and collapse into a few de facto technologies and techniques. IMHO the Keep It Simple approach to data (i.e. well formed XML) is the safest 'today' approach. - Gavin F. McKenzie mailto:gmckenzi@jetform.com http://www.jetform.com


Not all forms require a heavy hand of security. Many forms are used in (closed) environments with a higher
level of trust. Other forms are simply 'worksheets' that facilitate the data entry of data which is completely self-describing and can be signed on its own.
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There is no reason that such a document cannot be legally-binding. However, in business we are generally concerned with managing our risk as much as possible. Therefore, having witnesses at the signing of a contract, using notaries, lawyers, etc is a common practice.

"Cohasset Associates believes there is a need to preserve as many elements of the electronic transaction as possible, specifically, the complete "visual presentation" of the transaction to the user. This will improve significantly an organization's ability to meet the tests of admissibility." The full text is available at: http://www.cohasset.com/comm_forms.html

Barclay Blair -- Industry Relations - UWI.Com -- The InternetForms Company
barclay@uwi.com www.uwi.com

Disclaimer: NAL.

Any legal document draws most of its meaning from context. A telegram that says "SELL HUNDRED THOUSAND SHARES IBM SHORT" (only 190 bits in 5-bit Baudot code plus appropriate headers) is as good a legal document as any, even sans digital signature. -- John Cowan http://www.ccil.org/~cowan cowan@ccil.org

Determining admissible evidence is clearly outside the scope of responsibility of an e-forms vendor. :-)

This reminds me of the argument that cigarette manufactures don't need to worry about the cancer that their cigarettes cause -- a specious argument, but one that made them wealthy for many years. :-)

Obviously it is the responsibility of a vendor to ensure that their users are getting solutions that they need. The simple fact is that any document used in conducting business becomes part of an audit trail that must be sound if organizations are to protect themselves. Why should an e-forms vendor be less responsible for this than, say, a vendor of printed checks or multi-part forms?

It requires that content (data) and the context (presentation) be signed, but fusing the data content and the presentation together isn't necessary; and it is very costly on a number of levels.

This sounds like an "e-forms vendor's" opinion on legal-related issues to me. Hmmn. Some legal experts wouldn't agree with your assessment. For example:

"Historically, capturing and maintaining over time all of the major elements of the business transaction includes: 1) the data (the content), 2) the reason for the transaction (the context), and 3) some or all elements of the visual and interactive presentation of the transaction (the structure). This has been deemed to be increasingly important as the value of electronic
transactions increases. For transactions in the tens or hundreds of dollars, the risk of loss is not that significant. Therefore, the requirement to retain every element of detail may not be as critical for regulatory compliance or for discovery and litigation. However, as the value of the transaction, or the value of the information that is part of the transaction, increases to the hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars, the details retained can be tantamount to winning or losing."

The full text is available at: http://www.cohasset.com/comm_forms.html if you are interested in more information.
Barclay Blair -- Industry Relations UWI.Com -- The InternetForms Company barclay@uwi.com www.uwi.com


Emulating paper isn't the issue; making the transaction admissable as evidence is.

Determining admissible evidence is clearly outside the scope of responsibility of an e-forms vendor. :-)

That is why XFDL for example insists on including in the form document all the presentational information and so on - the claim is that you have to digitally sign not only the answers to the questions but the questions and how they were presented to the user, in order to achieve the goal of non-repudiation. (Mind you, this should be done using CSS or flow objects rather than with custom tags as XFDL did).

Sign yes. Include no. It requires that content (data) and the context (presentation) be signed, but fusing the data content and the presentation together isn't necessary; and it is very costly on a number of levels.

Simply including a fingerprint of the presentation as part of the data signing is sufficient. Nothing more is achieved by choosing to store or incorporate the presentation with the data or vice-versa.

Some processes do not need to sacrifice the particular aspect of flexibility that is lost when signing data in concert with presentation -- the flexibility lost is that the data won't verify in another presentation...this of course is the primary feature of including the presentation in the signature, but in some usage contexts this feature is undesirable.

Useful sites for electronic payment systems

Journal of Internet Banking and Commerce
http://www.arraydev.com/commerce/jibc/articles.htm

Payment mechanisms designed for the Internet
http://ganges.cs.tcd.ie/mepeirce/Project/oninternet.html

Commerce
http://www.sims.berkeley.edu/resources/infoecon/Commerce.html

Electronic Money, or E-Money, and Digital Cash
http://www.ex.ac.uk/~RDavies/arian/emoney.html

EFF "Privacy/Online Commerce - Digital Money & Transactions" Archive
http://www.eff.org/pub/Privacy/Digital_money/