Tag Archives: law

The Last Post

Well I will say that this is the last post for the site SPA Paperless Office Project the reason why is that times have changed the site will have a new name and a new look complete with a totally new area to the paperless office, it will still have the roots of the S.P.A Foundation and still built around what I believe is still one of the fundamentals of achieving a paperless environment.

What will the new site have, a purpose built Management Efficacy SPA Template Tool and an Efficacy SPA Paperless Template Tool plus a few others.

How will the site be designed, it will have a new looking reader friendly screen a new external link friendly system plus the all the usual posts that are connected to the paperless environment for the person who wants to understand and read thought and interesting posts that are connected to this subject.

The site design will constantly be updated to improve the reader’s experience.

What will be the site called? To keep in line with the original thoughts of the first web site the name Paperless Endeavour will hope to keep the ever lasting and changing environment that to a certain degree will always try to keep up with the Technologies advances and break thoughts that are always trying to improve the world we live in weather it’s in the office or associated Technologies.

The new site will be launched in January next year, so I hope to see you then, other wise have a wonderful Christmas Holiday and a Happy New Year.

Martin Smith


Putting the “Office” into the Paperless Office

If we want to bring the paperless office to a new height and bring the paperless system to an office, do you think that the office as we all known and understand will have to change?

Has the office stopped the potential growth of the paperless system, what would we class as a office in real terms has the office ever changed, you would be right to say once or twice, we started with the traditional layout, a picture looking like George Orwell’s Film 1984, not in the sense of big brother but in the sense of totalitarian presence with a straight line of desks, all in a dark grey and black colours and a strict sense of uniformed procedures with no curves for flexibility.

Times changed and we started to understand that the work force should have a more relaxed atmosphere, not so straight and down the line, but a space between the desk and yourself and a so called workable free area.

This workable free area became more common and we started to look at the work space and not a desk, individual offices became obsolete and an open space had no barriers between the workers and the managers, we slowly developed into the open plan office and this really provided a greater open space were we could glide around and have this free feeling to encourage better working conditions.

Up to a point these have been the main areas, give or take a few untraditional methods, I write this simply because if we want the paperless office to develop we must consider all the connecting and surrounding aspects, put it another way, if you were buying a sport car you would expect it to have a powerful engine to class it as a sports car not a middle of the road family car engine, is this slowly happing to the paperless system  

If we want a paperless office should we look at the office in the Paperless office in a different way?

I did write a few other posts regarding this area called Attitude and a way of thinking which really does some this areas up.

Will we have to change our thinking and adapt the office to a paperless system or shall we adapt the hardware and the software to a accommodated the concept of the paperless office.

I think we should look at both areas and hopefully meet them in the middle;

I will write in the future how to change an office to accommodate a paperless system not stating which products are available but a comprehensive look at a potential design view to a medium size company.

E Paper: Develop and Adapt

Just recently I have been spending a bit of time looking at the new areas of E paper, why because it will certainly play a part in the concept of the paperless office and also I have a general interest in new technology.

In some of my past posts I have indicated that E paper should take a closer look at its self and decide into which direct it should be travelling and also a small undertone that E paper could be a Roll Royce of paper and not E paper for the masses, a product that could change how we work and behave in a normal working office.

Should E paper look for a new direction, could it survive if a very simple product was designed and developed not just for social pleasure but a true working product that can be used in the work place which could be a replacement for paper.

Personally I do not think that E Paper should replace paper, when I say replace paper, I don’t think it has to replace paper in the sense of sheet paper.

Last year I carried out a survey with Bradford University, this mainly looked at SPA, Secondary Paper Activities within a work place, the general findings were that 63% of Paper Activities were computer based and the remaining paper activities were classed as small notary actions and came under the section of SPA.

What does this tell us, it tells us that 63% of activities within the work place is already performed using a standard PC so what we can use E paper for.

I think we have to forget the direct replacement for paper, writing on E Paper, is not in the forefront of our minds, and has not been development yet. I generally believe that E Paper will have to be categorised to the storage, viewing and display area if we are going to try to bring this into the work place.

I don’t think that this is a bad think, if you look at this and look at the whole picture, could we remove the paper file and lever arch files that are situated in all our offices.

One would assume that one of the reasons why we are developing E paper is to remove paper as we know it, in its traditional sense or is it to develop the computer device, we started with the computer and then the tablet and I pad, and now the E paper, could we view the E Paper as an extension development of the tablet and I pad.

 I personally hope not, I think that E paper will survive but only if we segment the product into a workable and practical solution that is cheaper and more user friendly that we have been used to within the work place.

Data Protection Act (Post dated 5/9) Apology

We have received an interesting comment regarding the above, see comments.

The comment received noted that the grammar was not up to it’ best.

 We have looked at the above post, and are comments are as follows

 An administrative error had occurred with a confusing duplication of paragraphs which made the post difficult to read and understand.

The actual contents of the post has not changed as we believe is was correct and accurate  

We do take our subject matter very seriously and we welcome any comments even if this may cause any disruption to the blog.

An email has been sent to the person who left the comment.

Once again we apologise if this has caused any inconvenience to any of the readers

Electronic Communication Act 2000 and the Paperless Office (General Summary)

The general thoughts are that the E.C.A act has had an overall impact on the development of the paperless system and the paperless office , as this was it’s intension to do so, not in the last two areas but certainly to help and to make a more secure system, that we can all benefit form.

This only can have a rebound effect to the paperless systems and Paperless office systems. We are seeing at the moment that securing file and documents within the business environment is slowly becoming second nature to any small or large business, not only that due to the technology which is available this is slowly becoming a cheaper option.

You will read articles that the act was just a small stepping stone, that has opened a very large wound, and you will be correct to assume that, the overall thought of encrypting or making things more secure and also to make a measurable impact of the various ways of making this happen within the ever increasing technology race.

One of most measurable area is that of recognition of the electronic signature that could be used in the court of law, id I do believe is a big step in the right directs, we must remember that the act is 10 years old, so a lot will have happened since then.

Will the main thought process of Cryptography make any major radical changes to what we use today, I think to the every day person who users the internet of any paperless system, this will not have a major change it will help to simonize the process of security, but behind close doors things have changed and I believe they will for many years to come.

We must remember that there are many examples of cryptography; security of information is never one hundred percent perfect. Even though more complex encryption methods are always being created, sophisticated hackers can learn to adapt and find a way to crack these systems and in all cases we just need to try and be one step ahead of the game.

Just to confirm that the difference between cryptography and encryption terms are Cryptography is the study and methods used for the security of messages and other important information, while encryption is the specific techniques that make these methods possible.

What are the differences of Digital Signatures and Email Encryption methods?

Encryption use asymmetrical keys, the goal of a digital signature and that of email encryption are entirely different. A digital signature is used to verify that a particular electronic document was created by a particular individual and has not been altered in the transmission process. The process is used to authenticate the author and the contents of the document beyond a shadow of doubt.

Email encryption, on the other hand, is used to maintain the privacy of the contents of an email. Generally, information that should not be privy to everyone is subject to email encryption.

When implementing digital signatures, the public key is used for decryption while its corresponding private key is used for encryption. The process for email encryption is exactly the opposite.

Email encryption and digital signatures are certainly not mutually exclusive, even though they have differences. There are occasions where establishing the identity of an e-mail’s author is equally as important as maintaining the security of its contents.

This is a scenario where both technologies would be used in conjunction with each other.

I think that a general understanding of this act plays a major role when looking at the concept of the paperless system and in years to come will certainly assist the general development of a paperless system.

ECA 2000 parts 7 to 10

Part II Facilitation of electronic commerce, data storage

Section 7

Electronic signatures and related certificates

This section provides for the admissibility of electronic signatures and related certificates in legal proceedings

It will be for the court to decide in a particular case whether an electronic signature has been correctly used and what weight it should be given (e.g. in relation to the authentication or integrity of a message) against other evidence. Some businesses have contracted with each other about how they are to treat each other’s electronic communications.

Subsection (1) allows an electronic signature, or its certification, to be admissible as evidence in respect of any question regarding the authenticity or integrity of an electronic communication or data. Authenticity and integrity are both defined in section

15(2):References to the authenticity of any communication or data are references to any one or more of the following.

Whether the communication or data comes from a particular person or other source;

Whether it is accurately timed and dated;

 Whether it is intended to have legal effect.

References to the integrity of any communication or data are references to whether there has been any tampering with or other modification of the communication or data.

Subsection (2) defines an electronic signature for the purposes of the section.

Subsection (3) explains what is meant by certified in this context.


I think one of the main points to this section is that the act has certainly helped the development of the paperless system. To a certain degree the electronic signature has been accepted and been allowed to enter with certain ease into the technology race within the paperless system.

The Electronic signature can be accepted as evidence in a court of law but as the above paragraph indicates that it is subject to its authenticity and integrity, but you could state that about if a signature as written with a pen.

Section 8 

Power to modify legislation

This power is designed to remove restrictions arising from other legislation which prevent the use of electronic communications or storage in place of paper, and to enable the use of electronic communications or storage of electronic data to be regulated where it is already allowed. Its potential application in such cases means that it is narrower in scope than section 7, which applies wherever electronic signatures are used; including those cases where there is no legislative impediment to the electronic option. The power can be used selectively to offer the electronic alternative to those who want it.

There are a large number of provisions in statutes on many different topics, which require the use of paper or which might be interpreted to require this. Many of these cases involve communication with Government Departments by businesses or individuals – including submitting information or applying for licenses or permits. Other cases concern communications between businesses and individuals, where there is a statutory requirement that the communication should be on paper. The power can be used in any of these cases, and is not limited to the provision of written information:

  • document is defined in section 15(1) to include a map, plan, design, drawing, picture or other image;
  • Communication is defined in section 15(1) to include a communication comprising sounds or images or both and a communication effecting a payment.

Some examples of the way in which the power could be used relate to the Companies Act 1985. On 5 March 1999 the DTI consulted about whether the Act should be changed to enable companies to use electronic means to deliver company communications, to receive shareholder proxy and voting instructions and to incorporate. The consultation letter “Electronic Communication: Change To The Companies Act 1985” is available from DTI’s Company Law and Investigations Directorate, telephone 020 7215 0409. A draft order, which the Government proposes to make under this power, was published for consultation in February 2000 and is available by phoning the same telephone number and at http://www.dti.gov.uk/cld.condocs.htm

The Government will also ensure a co-ordinate approach among Departments and issue guidance for their use. This accords with the observation in the Performance and Innovation Unit report e-commerce@its.best.uk (Para 10.45) that “A significant degree of co-ordination will be needed to ensure that measures to acknowledge legal equivalence of written and digital signatures marches in step between departments”. This role has been assigned to the Central IT Unit in the Cabinet Office, which provides the policy lead for developing Information Age Government under the Modernizing Government agenda. The Cabinet Office is developing guidelines to ensure that Departments follow a consistent approach.

There are, however, many communications where paper is not currently required by law – for example the vast majority of contracts fall into this category. People will remain free to undertake transactions of this kind using whatever form of communication they wish.

Subsection (1) gives the appropriate Minister the power to modify, by order made by statutory instrument, the provisions of any enactment or subordinate legislation, or instruments made under such legislation, for which he is responsible. He may authorize or facilitate the use of electronic communications or electronic storage (instead of other methods of communication or storage) for any purpose mentioned in subsection (2).

This power is limited by subsection (3) which places a duty on the Minister not to make such an order unless he considers that authorizing the option of electronic communication or storage will not result in arrangements for record-keeping that are less satisfactory than before. It is also limited by subsection (6).

  • enactment is defined in section 15 and includes future legislation;
  • record is defined in section 15 to include an electronic record;
  • The appropriate Minister is defined in section 9 (1).

Subsection (2) describes the purposes for which modification by an order may be made.

Subsections (4) and (5) specify the types of provision about electronic communications or the use of electronic storage that may be made in an order under this section.

Subsection (6) provides that an order under this section cannot require the use of electronic communications or electronic storage. However, when someone has previously chosen the electronic option, the variation or withdrawal of such a choice may be subject to a period of notice specified in the order.

Subsection (7) provides that this section does not apply to matters under the care and management of the Commissioners of Inland Revenue or the Commissioners of Customs and Excise. Such matters are already covered in sections 132 and 133 of the Finance Act 1999


This section really only covers The power can be used selectively to offer the electronic alternative to those who want it and also states and mentions that if a person or persons still want to use a more traditional method this will no way be used against them.

Section 9

Supplemental provision about section 8 orders

This section says who may make section 8 orders, and sets out supplementary provisions relating to such orders; it contains standard provisions commonly accorded to powers to make subordinate legislation, such as an ability to make supplementary provision.

Subsections (3) and (4) provide that the regulations made under section 8 will be subject to a choice of either affirmative or negative resolution procedure in both Houses of Parliament. The Government intends to use affirmative resolution at least for the first order, so that the general principles can be debated.

Subsection (7) provides for the power to be exercised by the Scottish Ministers, with the consent of the Secretary of State, in relation to Scottish devolved matters. Scottish legislation is brought within the ambit of the power by virtue of the definitions of enactment and subordinate legislation in section 15.


This section covers the areas of section 8 which is a compulsory acquisition order. It is a very unassuming piece of paper without letterhead or a stamp and is signed by the acquiring authority persons or person.

Section 10

Modifications in relation to Welsh matters

This section provides for the power in section 8 to be exercised by the National Assembly for Wales, to the extent set out in subsections (3) and (4). That power is to be exercisable with the consent of the Secretary of State.

Part III Miscellaneous and supplemental

Section 11:  Modification of licenses by the Director

 Part III: License Modification Procedure

Section 12:  Appeals against modifications of licenses

Section 14

Prohibition on key escrow requirements

This section limits the powers given by this Act to any Minister of the Crown, the Scottish Ministers, the National Assembly for Wales, or any person appointed under section 3, such that these powers may not impose requirements on a person to deposit a key for electronic data with any other person. Subsection (2) makes clear that a key may be required to be deposited with a person to whom the communication is sent and that alternative arrangements to key-storage may be required to prevent the loss of data or the ability to decode it. Subsection (3) defines a key for the purposes of this section, making use of the definition of being put into an intelligible form given in section 15 (3).

Section 15:  General interpretation

This section provides for the interpretation of various terms used throughout the Act.

Subsection (1) inter alia defines

Electronic communication to mean a communication transmitted (whether from one person to another, from one device to another or from a person to a device or vice versa) by means of a telecommunication system (within the meaning of the Telecommunications Act 1984), or by other means but while in an electronic form.

Section 4(1) of the Telecommunications Act 1984 says

In this Act telecommunication system means a system for the conveyance, through the agency of electric, magnetic, electro-magnetic, electro-chemical or electro-mechanical energy of-


speech, music and other sounds;


visual images;


signals serving for the impartation (whether as between persons and persons, things and things or persons and things) of any matter otherwise than in the form of sounds or visual images; or


signals serving for the actuation or control of machinery or apparatus.

subordinate legislation as having the same meaning as in the Interpretation Act 1978, and also including corresponding secondary legislation made under Acts of the Scottish Parliament and certain statutory rules in Northern Ireland.

Section 21(1) of the Interpretation Act 1978 provides that subordinate legislation means Orders in Council, orders, rules, regulations, schemes, warrants, byelaws and other instruments made or to be made under any Act.

ECA 2000 Parts 1 to 6

Section 1: Register of approved providers

This section places a duty on the Secretary of State to establish and maintain a register of approved providers of cryptography support services, and specifies what information is to be contained in the register. The section also requires the Secretary of State to make arrangements for the public to have access to the register and for any changes to the information in the register to be publicized.

Cryptography support services are defined in section 6.

The main purpose of the register is to ensure that providers on the register have been independently assessed against particular standards of quality, in order to encourage the use of their services, and hence the development of electronic commerce and electronic communication with Government.

Where two people are communicating electronically, it may be necessary for one person to rely on the services provided to the other: for example, where the first person receives a communication which purports to have been signed electronically by the other.

Definition of electronic signature is given in section 7(2).

The register is voluntary: no provider is obliged to apply for approval and a provider who is not on the register is at liberty to provide cryptography services


This section is very straight forward it informs us that a registration has to provided to the extent that all persons or person who will provide assistance to the development of the cryptography support services area and associated

Section 2: Arrangements for the grant of approvals

This section places a duty on the Secretary of State to ensure that there are arrangements in force for granting approval, handling complaints and disputes and modifying or withdrawing approval.

Places a duty on the Secretary of State to ensure that there are arrangements for granting approvals for any person providing or proposing to provide, cryptography support services in the United Kingdom.

The provision of cryptography support services in the United Kingdom is described in subsection.

Says what the Secretary of State must be satisfied about in order to grant an approval. The Secretary of State is given the power to set requirements (e.g. relating to the technology provided, to the person himself and his background and experience, and the way he provides the technology to the public) by regulation, and also to impose conditions on the approval.

The Secretary of State must also be satisfied that the person is fit and proper to be approved. Relevant factors include any known contraventions of provisions of this legislation, and convictions for offences involving fraud or dishonesty, or engaging in discriminatory practices, or engaging in deceitful, oppressive, unfair or improper business practices.

Requirement for compliance with these requirements by reference to the opinion of a person specified, either in the regulations or chosen in a manner set out in the regulations.

The arrangements for approvals, outlined above, envisage providers requesting approval for one or a number of different cryptography support services. The granting of such an approval would depend on the applicant meeting the conditions specified in the relevant regulations.


In general this section confirms to section 1 that a person and persons will be able to provide the necessary information and also the persons will be fit for purpose and all transaction will be performed in the correct business.

Section 3:  Delegation of approval functions

This section enables the Secretary of State to delegate the approvals functions set out in sections 1 and 2 to any person. Subsection (4) provides that where the functions are delegated to a statutory body or office holder, the statutes relating to their original functions shall be regarded as including the new functions so delegated. Subsection (5) enables the Secretary of State to modify enactments by order, and subsection (6) provides that the order required to do this will be subject to affirmative resolution procedure in both Houses of Parliament.


This section is very straight forward it informs us that state has the ability to delegate the items mentioned in sections 1 and 2.

Section 4:  Restrictions on disclosure of information

This section protects certain information obtained under Part I, sets out the purposes for which it may be disclosed (e.g. in order to carry out the approvals functions, for a criminal investigation or for those civil proceedings specified in subsection (2)(e)) and makes improper disclosure a criminal offence. It safeguards individual privacy and commercially confidential information, except where disclosure is justifiable.

There is no restriction on who may make the disclosure or to whom it may be made, provided that the purpose is proper.


This section has informed us that disclosure of information will be restricted subjected to certain conditions.

Section 5:  Regulations under Part I

This section makes further provision relating to the regulations the Secretary of State may make under Part I and contains standard provisions commonly accorded to powers to make subordinate legislation, such as an ability to make supplementary provision.

The regulations will be subject to affirmative resolution procedure in both Houses of Parliament the first time the Secretary of State exercises his powers to make regulations under this Part. They will subsequently be subject to negative resolution procedure in both Houses of Parliament.

  • prescribed is defined in this Part as meaning prescribed by regulations made by the Secretary of State, or determined in such a manner as may be provided for in any such regulations.


This section indicates that it can make subordinate legislation, such as an ability to make supplementary provision to Part 1 if required.

Section 6:  Provision of cryptography support services

The cryptography support services that may be approved under the arrangements described above are defined to include those relating to: confidentiality, i.e. securing that such electronic communications or data can be accessed, or can be put into an intelligible form (defined in section 15(3)), only by certain persons; securing that the authenticity or integrity (both defined in section 15(2) of electronic communications or data is capable of being ascertained, i.e. relating to an electronic signature.

Subsection (2) makes it clear that the approval scheme for cryptography support services includes only those services that primarily involve a continuing relationship between the supplier of the service and the customer. The scheme does not cover the supply of an item (whether software or hardware) unless such a supply is integral to the provision of the service itself.

Cryptography support services, falling within the scope of this section, would include registration and certification in relation to certificates, time-stamping of certificates or documents, key generation and management, key-storage and providing directories of certificates.


This section provides for the interpretation of various terms used in Part I of the Act.