Annual Survey of International & Comparative Law


Digital certificates assure online shoppers that the online merchants with whom they are considering doing business in fact exist and that they are who they claim to be. Similarly, online merchants can also be certain that persons who place orders are really who they claim to be, and the order cannot be repudiated once it has been digitally signed. Authenticated digital signatures provide stronger evidence of the source and integrity of a message than an electronic replica of a physical handwritten signature affixed on hard copy output. Digital signature technology is not an absolute answer to all problems, but it provides today's most secure, practical solution. Both the E-Sign Act and Thai E-Transactions Act prohibit courts from denying legal effect of electronic signatures purely on the ground that they are in electronic form. Both Acts recognize digital signatures. Courts may, however, deny the legal effect of any electronic signature on the grounds of unreliability. The legal effect of a digital signature may also be attacked on the ground of forgery. Although the E-Sign Act and Thai E-Transactions Act have addressed some legal issues regarding validity, certain issues concerning burden of proof of reliability and mechanisms for consumer protection still remain insufficiently addressed. This chapter presents the following recommendations.