12/23/2008 09:22:24 AM EST
The Internet has quickly become a vital marketplace for consumer and business commercial transactions. However, Internet electronic commerce could not become a successful marketplace unless it became possible to form binding electronic contracts between strangers. The main problem in establishing an electronic contract has been that of satisfying the requirements for a writing and a signature. Many electronic contracts have been formed in the past between Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) trading partners doing business through a secure, private Value Added Network (VAN). Lawmakers have also facilitated the use of electronic signatures to form valid and legally enforceable contracts over the Internet. In recent years, the United States Congress, state legislatures and the European Union have passed legislation mandating the legal recognition of electronic signatures in on-line transactions.