WSR 01-04-050



[ Filed February 2, 2001, 11:22 a.m. ]

Original Notice.

Preproposal statement of inquiry was filed as WSR 99-07-136.

Title of Rule: Signature, this rule provides information about handwritten signature and digital signature.

Purpose: To define that signature means both handwritten identification and digital identification. The rule goes on to describe handwritten identification and digital identification.

Other Identifying Information: In reviewing our rules under the requirements of Executive Order 97-02, we found that a clear definition of signature was needed. Additionally, "digital identification" needed to be defined and authorized for use because of the great increase in using electronics for doing engineering design and land surveying maps and then electronically transmitting that data.

Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 18.43.035.

Summary: This rule is being proposed to define the term "signature" as it is used in Title 196 WAC. Under this definition, signature means both a handwritten identification and a digital identification. The rule clarifies what a handwritten identification is and what a digital identification is. By defining digital identification as a signature, engineers and land surveyors will be able to use electronic identification on their documents as provided for in chapter 19.34 RCW.

Reasons Supporting Proposal: The proposed rule clarifies the meaning of handwritten identification and includes digital identification in the meaning of signature. Including digital identification in the definition will authorize engineers and land surveyors to use digital identification on their electronic documents. Electronic identification is not currently authorized for engineering/surveying documents.

Name of Agency Personnel Responsible for Drafting: Rick Notestine, 405 Black Lake Boulevard, Olympia, WA, (360) 664-1578; Implementation and Enforcement: George A. Twiss, 405 Black Lake Boulevard, Olympia, WA, (360) 664-1565.

Name of Proponent: Board of Registration for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors, governmental.

Agency Comments or Recommendations, if any, as to Statutory Language, Implementation, Enforcement, and Fiscal Matters: The proposed rule defines written identification and defines and authorizes use of digital identification.

Rule is not necessitated by federal law, federal or state court decision.

Explanation of Rule, its Purpose, and Anticipated Effects: Various rules in Title 196 WAC refer to signature, or signed by, but the term signature is not defined. This rule defines "signature" to be a handwritten identification or a digital identification. The rule gives a specific explanation as to what a handwritten identification is and what a digital identification is.

There have been questions in the past to the board about what "signature" means. The purpose of the rule is to provide a clear definition of "signature" in its normal sense as a handwritten identification, and to expand the definition to include digital identification. It is important to define digital identification (also called digital signature), and provide for its use in engineering and land surveying, to accommodate the increasing use of computers in engineering and land surveying to generate designs, maps, plans and documents and then transmit that information electronically.

We anticipate less confusion and questions about a written signature because the rule clearly states that the signature must be original and handwritten; the signature cannot be a computerized or digitized facsimile of a person's signature to then be affixed to a document. We also anticipate that there will be more use of digital identification to ensure that engineering and land surveying data and information that is transmitted electronically can be authenticated by the receiver. There is, however, a concern that the transmitted data and information can be altered. Some digital identification softwares do not allow transmitted data and information to be altered which should also increase its use.

Proposal does not change existing rules.

No small business economic impact statement has been prepared under chapter 19.85 RCW. This rule does not place a burden on small business. It puts into writing a definition for written signature as the board has always interpreted and enforced that term as it is used in accordance with Title 196 WAC. The rule also defines "digital identification" as a form of signature. If a company or individual practitioner chooses to use a digital form of signature, they would have to purchase the software that would allow them to do that. However, the rule does not mandate that digital identification be used.

Section 201, chapter 403, Laws of 1995, does not apply to this rule adoption. Neither the Department of Licensing or the Board of Registration for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors are one [of] the agencies named in this statute.

Hearing Location: Department of Licensing, Business and Professions Division, Conference Room No. 1, First Floor, 405 Black Lake Boulevard, Olympia, WA, on March 16, 2001, at 1:00 p.m.

Assistance for Persons with Disabilities: Contact Kim Chipman by March 12, 2001, TDD (360) 586-2788, or (360) 664-1564.

Submit Written Comments to: Rick Notestine, Board of Registration for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors, P.O. Box 9649, Olympia, WA 98507-9649, fax (360) 664-2551, by March 19, 2001.

Date of Intended Adoption: March 22, 2001.

January 29, 211 [2001]

George A. Twiss

Executive Director

WAC 196-23-070   Signature.   The terms "signature or signed", as used in chapter 18.43 RCW and/or Title 196 WAC, shall mean the following:

(1) A handwritten identification that represents the act of putting one's name on a document to attest to its validity. The handwritten identification must be:

(a) Original and written by hand;

(b) Permanently affixed to the document(s) being certified;

(c) Applied to the document by the identified registrant.

(2) A digital identification that is an electronic authentication process attached to or logically associated with an electronic document. The digital identification must be:

(a) Unique to the registrant using it;

(b) Capable of independent verification;

(c) Under the exclusive control of the registrant using it;

(d) Linked to a document in such a manner that the digital identification is invalidated if any data in the document is changed;

(e) In conformance with the definition of "digital signature" as it appears in chapter 19.34 RCW, Washington Electronic Authentication Act.


Washington State Code Reviser's Office