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Telecom 99 - Commissioner Liikanen on the Communications Revolution and the EU response, Geneva, October 1999 

EU competition rules - the Commission's first sectoral inquiry into telecommunications addresses leased line tariffs 

IST programme: Second Call for proposals launched 

Green Paper on Public Sector Information in the Information Society (COM(98)585). The answers on Europe and Public Sector Information - 180 consultation replies available on-line(21.09.1999) 

Online Information 99 - Conference & Exhibition presents the world of information (14.09.1999) 

Making digital content work for Europe - comprehensive INFO2000 Programme Interim Evaluation now available(09.09.1999) 

Telematics for Libraries - Results of the Third Metadata Workshop (14.08.1999) 

"Europe by Satellite" is the EU's TV news service for media professionals(13.08.1999) 

Final evaluation of the MLIS Programme - Open Call for tenders (2.8.1999) 

I*M-Europe reaches its target audience(19.7.1999) 

The EU's legal recognition of electronic signatures is expected soon (02.11.1999)

On 27 October 1999, the planned EU Directive on electronic signatures (OJ No C 243 of 27.8.1999, p. 33) passed its second reading in the European Parliament. The directive seeks to ensure that electronic signatures, accompanied by a valid certificate, will possess equal validity to handwritten signatures. Such an EU-wide legal framework for electronic signatures will be essential for guaranteeing secure electronic communication and commerce, to the benefit of consumers in terms of security and confidence in electronic commerce. The planned directive is technologically neutral and thus open to future developments in authentication procedures.

The Parliament's Legal Affairs Committee proposed several minor amendments to the directive in order to clarify certain areas: the directive should not apply to closed systems which are based on voluntary contractual agreements under private law between a limited number of participants, where there is no need for EU legislation. Furthermore, regarding the liability of providers of certification services, the amendments would ensure that certificates contain all the necessary requirements for a qualified certificate, and that it must be made clear where the limitations and the liability of certificate providers ends.

Both the Council and the Commission have shown support for the amendments of the Parliament. One can therefore expect that the legal recognition for electronic signatures will soon be guaranteed.

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