[Federal Register Volume 65, Number 212 (Wednesday, November 1, 2000)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 65697-65698]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 00-27964]



[[Page 65697]]

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

Part XI





Department of Defense

General Services Administration

National Aeronautics and Space Administration





-----------------------------------------------------------------------



48 CFR Parts 2 and 4



Federal Acquisition Regulation; Electronic Signatures; Proposed Rule

Federal Register / Vol. 65, No. 212 / Wednesday, November 1, 2000 / 
Proposed Rules

[[Page 65698]]


-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION

NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION

48 CFR Parts 2 and 4

[FAR Case 2000-304]
RIN 9000-AI94


Federal Acquisition Regulation; Electronic Signatures

AGENCIES: Department of Defense (DoD), General Services Administration 
(GSA), and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

ACTION: Proposed rule.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The Civilian Agency Acquisition Council and the Defense 
Acquisition Regulations Council (Councils) are proposing to amend the 
Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) to clarify and encourage the use 
of electronic signatures in Federal procurement.

DATES: Interested parties should submit comments in writing on or 
before January 2, 2001 to be considered in the formulation of a final 
rule.

ADDRESSES: Submit written comments to: General Services Administration, 
FAR Secretariat (MVRS), 1800 F Street, NW, Room 4035, ATTN: Laurie 
Duarte, Washington, DC 20405.
    Submit electronic comments via the Internet to: farcase.2000-304@gsa.gov.
    Please submit comments only and cite FAR case 2000-304 in all 
correspondence related to this case.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: The FAR Secretariat, Room 4035, GS 
Building, Washington, DC 20405, at (202) 501-4755 for information 
pertaining to status or publication schedules. For clarification of 
content, contact Ralph De Stefano, Procurement Analyst, at (202) 501-
1758. Please cite FAR case 2000-304.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

A. Background

    On October 21, 1998, the Government Paperwork Elimination Act 
(Title XVII of Division C of Public Law 105-277) was enacted. On June 
30, 2000, the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act 
(Pub. L. 106-229) was enacted. These laws eliminate legal barriers to 
using electronic technology in business transactions, such as the 
formation and signing of contracts.
    The proposed rule furthers Government participation in electronic 
commerce when conducting Federal procurements by--
    1. Revising the definitions of ``in writing'' and ``signature'' at 
FAR 2.101 to clarify that these terms include electronic, in addition 
to paper, transactions; and
    2. Adding a policy statement at FAR Subpart 4.5, Electronic 
Commerce in Contracting, to encourage agencies to use electronic 
commerce, such as electronic signature, in the transaction of Federal 
procurements.
    This is not a significant regulatory action and, therefore, was not 
subject to review under section 6(b) of Executive Order 12866, 
Regulatory Planning and Review, dated September 30, 1993. This rule is 
not a major rule under 5 U.S.C. 804.

B. Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The Councils do not expect this proposed rule to have a significant 
economic impact on a substantial number of small entities within the 
meaning of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 601, et seq., 
because this rule does not change procedures for award or 
administration of contracts, but, rather, only clarifies and encourages 
the use of electronic commerce for Federal procurement. An Initial 
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis has, therefore, not been performed. We 
invite comments from small businesses and other interested parties. The 
Councils will consider comments from small entities concerning the 
affected FAR Parts in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 610. Interested parties 
must submit such comments separately and should cite 5 U.S.C. 601, et 
seq. (FAR case 2000-304), in correspondence.

C. Paperwork Reduction Act

    The Paperwork Reduction Act does not apply because the proposed 
changes to the FAR do not impose information collection requirements 
that require the approval of the Office of Management and Budget under 
44 U.S.C. 3501, et seq.

List of Subjects in 48 CFR Parts 2 and 4

    Government procurement.

    Dated: October 26, 2000.
Al Matera,
Acting Director, Federal Acquisition Policy Division.
    Therefore, DoD, GSA, and NASA propose that 48 CFR parts 2 and 4 be 
amended as set forth below:
    1. The authority citation for 48 CFR parts 2 and 4 continues to 
read as follows:

    Authority: 40 U.S.C. 486(c); 10 U.S.C. chapter 137; and 42 
U.S.C. 2473(c).

PART 2--DEFINITIONS OF WORDS AND TERMS

    2. Amend section 2.101 by revising the definitions ``Electronic 
commerce'', ``In writing'', and ``Signature'' to read as follows:


2.101  Definitions

* * * * *
    Electronic commerce means business transactions accomplished by 
electronic techniques such as electronic mail or messaging, World Wide 
Web technology, electronic bulletin boards, purchase cards, electronic 
funds transfer, or electronic data interchange.
* * * * *
    In writing or written means any expression of information in words, 
numbers, or other symbols, including electronic expressions, that can 
be read, reproduced, and stored.
* * * * *
    Signature or signed means the discrete, verifiable symbol of an 
individual that, when attached to or logically associated with a 
written contract or other record with the knowledge and consent of the 
individual, indicates a present intention to authenticate the contract 
or other record. This includes an electronic signature made by 
electronic sound, symbols, or process.
* * * * *

PART 4--ADMINISTRATIVE MATTERS

    3. Amend section 4.502 by adding paragraph (d) to read as follows:


4.502  Policy

* * * * *
    (d) As required by the Government Paperwork Elimination Act (GPEA) 
(Title XVII of Division C of Public Law 105-277), by October 21, 2003, 
agencies must allow individuals or entities the option to submit 
information or transact with the agency electronically when 
practicable. The GPEA requirement includes execution of contracts and 
associated records using electronic signatures of the offeror or 
contractor and the agency.

[FR Doc. 00-27964 Filed 10-31-00; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6820-EP-U