Electronic Transactions

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Closes 29 Oct 2021

Introduction

The use of digital services and electronic transactions has expanded dramatically over the last twenty years and transformed the way we live.

Over the last eighteen months this has been accelerated even further by the coronavirus pandemic and the associated lockdowns which have forced greater use of remote working and learning.

Though technology increasingly enables us to save time and resources by relying on electronic services, in many areas there can still be uncertainty both in the public and private sector about the legal validity of electronic transactions and electronic execution of documents. In some cases this may be holding back businesses and other organisations. There are, as well, entirely legitimate fears about the threat of fraud, identity theft and the risks to vulnerable people through enabling certain kinds of transactions electronically.

In the Isle of Man the Electronic Transactions Act was introduced in 2000, in order to encourage the use of electronic services in both the public and private sectors. However the legislation is complex and isn’t easy to understand. Other jurisdictions have put in place other measures, such as the EU’s Regulation on electronic identification and trust services for electronic transactions in the internal market (eIDAS), which has been maintained in an adapted form in the UK post-Brexit.

Further, Regulations made under the Electronic Transactions Act 2000 in 2001 specifically excluded from the Act a number of transactions which were seen as highly risky.

The Act has however not been amended or subject to comprehensive review since 2000 and at a time when we are more reliant than ever on electronically delivered services it is appropriate to consider whether amendment would be beneficial, or whether further measures should be put in place.

This consultation seeks views from both the public and private sectors on the Island’s current legal framework on electronic transactions to ascertain to what extent it is fit for purpose and what changes should be brought forward in order to encourage further use of technology while at the same time minimising the risks involved.