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What is the Uniform Electronic Transaction Act (UETA)?

In the world of electronic signatures, we like to throw around the acronym UETA a lot. Though you might know what UETA stands for, you might not know the history of the act or what it means for your business. We’re here to break it down for you. 

what is uetaLet’s go back in time to 1999. When Google was still a startup. When a guidebook for the Internet opened with the question “Okay, what's this Internet good for?" Are you picturing it in your head? Good.

In 1999, a bunch of lawmakers got together and decided that we needed some laws to govern this new beast called “the Internet.” People were starting to do business online, and different states had different rules for electronic transactions. It could be confusing to figure out which laws applied to which business deals.

Enter UETA, one law to rule them all. It was the first national effort to create rules for electronic transactions for every state.

The bill says that electronic signatures were just as legal as handwritten signatures. That might not seem like a very big deal, but it opened the door for electronic transactions. Just a year later, lawmakers made a companion piece of legislation that went into a lot more detail about electronic and digital signatures, the ESIGN Act.

Today, we use electronic signatures in ways that the writers of UETA and the ESIGN Act probably never imagined. 


What makes a digital signature legal?