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Electronic Signatures for Birth and Death Certificates

The Treasury have now invoked the little used Electronic Communications Act 2000, to make "Electronic Signatures" legally valid so far as the Registration of Births and Deaths is concerned.

Statutory Instrument 2006 No. 2809
The Registration of Births and Deaths (Electronic Communications and Electronic Storage) Order 2006

Coming into force 13th November 2006

Although there is no guarantee that they will actually employ a cryptographic Digital Signatures, this is a step forward into the 20th, if not actually into the the 21st Century, which is to be welcomed.

"Electronic Signatures" are not quite the same as cryptographic Digital Signatures, a distinction which is relevant to our discussions about the forthcoming Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 Part III Code of Practice.

We will, of course, be keeping a watch to see if the "population register" plans, which were to be part of the now shelved Citizen Information Project, get revived and linked to the centralised biometric database, the National Identity Register and ID Card scheme.

Who is going to take the fingerprints and iris scans of dead people, so that they do not remain on the Register, to provide "Day of the Jackal" style false identities for criminals etc. ?

What safeguards are there to ensure that there cannot be cases of the "living dead" - zombies - people who are still alive, but who have been fraudulently or through error, declared to be officially dead ?

The Government have not dared to answer such questionsin any detail, in over 4 years of our asking them.

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