US District Court
District of New Mexico

W3C XML-DSig '99 Position Paper

The US District Court, District of New Mexico was perhaps the first court directly connected to the Internet, and our initial pilot demonstrated the feasibility of secure Internet electronic filing in 1994. It included a firewall, digital signatures, and encryption. We have had live electronic filing since 1997. We are currently working on a pilot (XCI - XML Court Interface) to define an XML protocol for delivering filings securely over the Internet, as well as other exchanges of court and attorney information. Digital signatures will be required for authentication of attorneys and delivery agents. In addition, as a member of the XML for legal documents discussion group Leg-XML hosted by GSU, I have been tasked with recommending a method for XML digital signatures.

At the XMLDSIG BOF held in Minneapolis in March, it was decided that IETF should wait for the outcome of this W3C workshop before deciding whether to form a work group. As a representative of the legal community, I would like to encourage the two organizations to arrive at a common standard. Signatures are a critical part of legal documents, and authentication software shouldn't have to be developed for multiple standards.

I am interested in the two IETF digital signature proposals, the Richard Brown draft and the Kent Davidson draft (the second is based on the first.) I am also interested in the Hirosi Maruyama draft for DOMHASH.


The position taken is contingent on equivalent or better solutions to the problems being addressed, and further enlightenment gained from participation in the standards building process. Many of these points are taken from the papers mentioned above, and apply to projected requirements for legal documents.

Richard Himes <>