What makes a digital document legitimate?

What makes a digital document legitimate?

A recent report by the Federal Government-sponsored think tank called the Electronic Commerce Expert Group (ECEG) goes some way to determining what makes an electronic document acceptable as an "original" and therefore, does not require a paper or hard copy.

While it does not specify actual technologies, such as CD-ROM, it does specify criteria which the technical solution has to satisfy.

The ECEG said that "Record management systems should be standardised at a technical and policy level, based as far as possible on a common definition of what constitutes an electronic record and the criteria to be satisfied in terms of accessibility, integrity and identification.

"Article 10 of the Model Law provides an appropriate basis for development of such provisions."

The three clauses which qualify a digital document to be considered genuine in Article 10 (1) of the Model Law are:

¥ the data is "accessible so as to be usable for subsequent reference";

¥ the message is "retained in the format in which it was generated, sent or received, or in a format which can be demonstrated to represent accurately the information generated, sent or received";

¥ the information contained within the document is "retained as enables the identification of the origin and destination of a data message and the date and time when it was sent or received".

The Model Law also includes the allowance of third parties to store the records at a separate location.