SOURCE: National Notary Association

May 23, 2005 15:00 ET

Delegates From More Than 20 Nations and Across the U.S. Will Convene for Historic Conference

The Hague, Latin Notaries and the National Notary Association Seek Solutions for the Secure Exchange of Electronic Documents Between Nations

LOS ANGELES, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- May 23, 2005 -- The National Notary Association (NNA) has invited two esteemed international organizations to join them for an International Forum to address the secure exchange of electronic documents between nations. The Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH), the International Union of Latin Notaries (IULN) and the NNA will meet at the NNA's 27th Annual Conference for an "International Forum on e-Notarization and e-Apostilles." For centuries, Notaries around the world have protected the integrity of important paper documents. Now, in an age of escalating identity theft and document fraud, global electronic commerce without the time-tested assurances of notarization will produce exponential growth of these crimes.

The International Forum takes place during the first two days of the NNA Conference at Bally's Las Vegas (May 30 - June 3) and will be attended by delegates from more than 20 nations and representatives from almost every American state.

"We are deeply honored to have our international peers join us during our Annual Conference," commented NNA President Milt Valera. "Our global economy demands secure, efficient authentication of sensitive, electronic documents, and in order to meet this demand an international consensus must be reached. We hope to gain such a consensus during this Forum."

Document fraud and identity theft issues have reached epidemic levels, increasing daily in their complexity and global reach. These crimes often fund terrorist activities and cost consumers and businesses worldwide billions of dollars. This Forum will focus on international efforts to curb these crimes in the electronic realm.

"The HCCH's 1961 Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization of Foreign Public Documents streamlined procedures for the international exchange of paper documents without sacrificing their security," recalled Hans van Loon, Secretary General of the HCCH. "Today, participating member-states of the Hague welcome the opportunity to discuss extending this treaty into the realm of electronic commerce."

The Forum will focus on a central question: How can a nation provide assurances to its foreign neighbors that electronically notarized documents were authenticated by an individual authorized to do so and not by an impostor bent on fraud?

To offer possible answers to this question, countries will give practical demonstrations of e-Notarization technologies either currently available or in development. The U.S. Department of State will present a pilot project for an electronic Apostille, and Austrian, British, Italian and Canadian representatives will join the NNA in demonstrating technologies from their respective countries.

"Creating systems by which nations can send and receive sensitive documents with the knowledge that those documents were drafted, signed, notarized and sent securely by electronic means will revolutionize international business," added IULN President Giancarlo Laurini. "The findings of this Forum will be felt by every member of our global community."

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