`Paperless' Society Impact Puts Future of Notaries in Doubt
Fears, Ronda, THE JOURNAL RECORD
By Ronda Fears
Journal Record Staff Reporter
As officials in the legal profession discuss how to handle electronic documents, the future role of notaries is also under review.
There are some 70,000 notaries commissioned in Oklahoma, according to the Secretary of State's Office.
Charles N. Faerber, vice president of the National Notary Association, sits on the American Bar Association's new division panel currently studying potential rules and procedures in a so-called "paperless society." Many businesses have already gone "paperless," imaging their files on computer, and many government entities are looking at that option.
"This is really an emerging issue," said Faerber, whose group is based in Canoga Park, Calif.
"Courts are just now discussing whether they should accept this technology. What is also being discussed is whether the traditional notary functions can be adapted to electronic transfer of documents.
"At this point, it appears that there would be no diminution of a notary's role; it may be enhanced. There still is a need for an impartial witness."
American Bar Association created an Electronic Data Interchange and Information Technology Division in May 1992 for the mission of developing recommended uniform laws regarding electronic documents. Its first meetings were last August in San Francisco and in January in New York.
Topics of concern include security within the electronic system and verification of "entering" data by computer key or computer codes _ which becomes a form of signature or consent _ without coercion, Faerber said. There is also the question of accepting copies of documents imaged by machine, vs. …