Night Manager style contracts in the blink of an eye
We have long been used to the notion of electronic signatures, which can include retinal scans and iris recognition as well as other biometric means of authentication Effectively, any agreed and established form of electronic authorisation may be used to form an ordinary contract, or authorise paymentThe legal basis for this under UK law is to be found in the Electronic Communications Act 2000, which first made electronic signatures admissible in legal proceedings, and subsequent regulations implementing the 1999 EU Directive on electronic signaturesOf course, issues of authenticity, security and integrity of the digital information need to be satisfied in order to make such a system possible, and it would have to be used in the context of international privacy law (as to which, we are still waiting approval for the new US-EU Privacy Shield essentially, requiring confirmation that the US agencies obey the rule of law) And the technology has to be effective In fact, iris recognition technology has been around since the 1990s, but its use has increased recently as the technology has improved, particularly in relation to physical access (as users of UK ePassports will have noticed if they use the fast gates at UK airports) In principle we should be seeing its use for other kinds of authorisation any time soonSo, contracts concluded through such means are not so fanciful The issue as ever will be, when do we want to use such systems, and what are the practical risks that they pose Setting up an effective system will require all the skills of an international lawyer but perhaps not quite those of Richard Roper's lawyer
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