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Government Paperwork Elimination Act (GPEA) Dont be a FOOL; The Law is Not DIY
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The Government Paperwork Elimination Act (GPEA) is relatively straightforward, requiring the Federal government to acquire and use "information technology, including alternative information technologies that provide for electronic submission, maintenance, or disclosure of information as a substitute for paper and for the use and acceptance of electronic signatures." [44 U.S.C. § 3504(a)(1)(B)(vi)] Though short and sweet, GPEA has been a driver of eGovernment, requiring agencies to move towards provision and recognition of electronic transactions. The enforcement mechanism for GPEA is simply that electronic records and signatures "shall not be denied legal effect, validity, or enforceability because such records are in electronic form." The Office of Management and Budget has issued guidance on Federal agency compliance with GPEA.[OMB]


Under the Government Paperwork Elimination Act (GPEA), Pub. L. No. 105-277, §§1701-1710 (1998) (codified as 44 U.S.C.A. § 3504 n. (West Supp. 1999)),   Federal Executive  agencies are required, by October 21, 2003, to provide for (1) "the option of the electronic maintenance, submission, or disclosure of information, when practicable, as a substitute for paper;" and (2) "the use and acceptance of electronic signatures, when practicable."  The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has developed guidance to assist agencies in implementing GPEA’s requirements.  "Procedures and Guidance; Implementation of the Government Paperwork Elimination Act," 65 FR 25508, May 2, 2000 ("OMB Guidance").  As part of the OMB Guidance, the Department of Justice is charged with developing, in consultation with federal agencies and OMB, practical guidance on legal considerations related to agency use of electronic filing and recordkeeping.  The purpose of this Guide is to identify legal issues that agencies are likely to face in converting to electronic processes and to provide some suggestions on how to address them.  Agencies should also consider the significance of the "Electronic Records and Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act" (E-SIGN) (Pub.L. 106-229, § 1, June 30, 2000, 114 Stat. 464, codified at 15 U.S.C. §§ 7001 -- 7006), although a detailed discussion of that statute’s impact on the federal agencies is beyond the scope of this Guide.


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