Minnesota  State Archives

Introduction to the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act

Monday, June 12, 2000



In April 2000, the State of Minnesota adopted the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA). The purpose of UETA is to create a uniform legal framework for the use of information technology in commerce. It is designed specifically to address questions about the validity of electronic signatures, messages, contracts, evidence and record keeping as society shifts from paper-based to computer-based transactions. UETA essentially declares that electronic signatures and messages are the equivalent of their written counterparts in order to facilitate the development of e-commerce and e-government.

On 12 June 2000, the Office of the Secretary of State and the State Archives Department of the Minnesota Historical Society sponsored a workshop on UETA at the Minnesota History Center. The workshop featured presentations by two experts on UETA and the legal aspects of information technology: C. Robert Beattie, of Oppenheimer Wolf & Donnelly LLP; Michael McGuire, of Rider, Bennett, Egan & Arundel. Robert Horton, State Archivist, spoke on managing electronic records.


Mary Kiffmeyer
Mary Kiffmeyer was elected as Minnesota's 20th Secretary of State in November 1998 and assumed office in January 1999. She grew up in central Minnesota, graduated from Pierz High School and received her RN degree from Saint Gabriel's School of Nursing in Little Falls. She currently serves on the State Board of Investments, she is a member of the downtown Minneapolis YMCA board of directors, and she is on the national board of advisors for the Close-Up Foundation. Under her leadership, the Office of the Secretary of State has taken a lead in the development of electronic government services, especially in the areas of digital signatures and the potential application of information technology to the recording of real estate transactions.

C. Robert Beattie
C. Robert Beattie is a partner in the Minneapolis office of Oppenheimer Wolff & Donnelly, LLP, specializing in business and commercial law matters including those related to e-commerce. He served as the American Bar Association Business Law Section Advisor to the UETA drafting committee and actively participated in the preparation of the act.

Michael McGuire
Michael McGuire is a partner in the Business Law Department at Rider, Bennett, Egan & Arundel, LLP in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He chairs the Internet Law Committee of the Minnesota State Bar Association, and is a Co-Chair of a new Working Group on Network Attacks for the Cyberspace Law Committee of the Business Law Section of the American Bar Association. He has advised a number of clients in a growing number of business disputes arising out of the Internet, including domain name disputes, copyright and trademark claims, unfair competition, and defamation. Mr.McGuire is also working with companies to address e-commerce issues including compliance with pending federal privacy regulations and the taxation of goods sold via the Internet. Mr. McGuire is also skilled in the recovery of electronic evidence, including deleted e-mail messages and other files. He is a regular speaker for local, state, and national organizations on Internet, e-Commerce, and Y2K issues.

Robert Horton
Robert Horton is State Archivist and head of the State Archives Department of the Minnesota Historical Society. He is secretary of the National Association of Government Archives and Records Administrators and chair of its Committee on Electronic Records and Information Systems. As NAGARA's representative, he attended a drafting session of the UETA.