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Toplevel Computing takes e-business regulations to task

The government needs to act, not regulate, in order to give the UK any chance of realising the e-Britain dream, says British owned Toplevel Computing, the manufacturer of OfficeForms electronic forms software ( Focus on the Regulation of Investigatory Powers (RIP) Bill is killing the opportunities laid open by the recent approval of the electronic signatures bill. If the government does not act now to get e-signatures law from theory into practice, the UK will lag behind the rest of the world.

"The government needs to address e-business developments more proactively. It is best placed to make the first move to trial and demonstrate the advantages of the technology. Otherwise the risk of being involved in a test case in court to prove the practical legality of e-signatures will hold back their use," said Jane Roberts, marketing director of Toplevel Computing.

Roberts continues, "Instead of leading the way forward and encouraging the adoption of e-signatures and the growth in e-business, the government is concentrating its efforts on imposing legislation that stifles innovation and the adoption of e-business initiatives. Paranoia around cyber-crime has led to over-regulation through the introduction of the RIP Bill."

"Due to the RIP Bill, which addresses arguments over the use of encryption keys, UK Internet Service Providers (ISPs) claim that they will incur extra costs of £640 million over five years for the installation of hardware needed to monitor the data. In response, ISPs are threatening to re-locate their services outside of the UK. None of this supports an e-Britain. If we don’t act quickly we will be left behind our US and European counterparts," concludes Roberts.

Toplevel says that rather than focusing on developing new laws, the government should concentrate on the opportunities made available by existing legislation. The government’s next move should be one which implements the practice of e-signatures and demonstrates the benefits of e-business technology. In support of the up-take in e-signatures, the government should also start seriously working towards a single, internationally valid, e-signature certificate for every citizen. This is necessary because there are currently various competing technologies each authenticated by a different PIN or key or digital certificate. This will potentially lead to individuals needing to remember or maintain a plethora of certificates and/or passwords to authorise different types of document. This will tempt people to write them down in order to remember them - ironically it will actually compromise security.

Toplevel has been supporting the move to replace paper-based procedures with electronic administration processes since commencing development of OfficeForms, electronic forms software in 1994. This includes secure technology for signing forms. Many admin-intensive organisations can benefit hugely by moving away from paper-dependence. However, without widespread take up of electronic signatures, users cannot reap all the benefits of e-forms for 80 percent of their forms. To promote wider understanding of e-forms, Toplevel now has available on the web a self-service, fully licensed e-forms software component together with sample e-forms; visit Toplevel’s web site:

About Toplevel

Toplevel is headquartered in Gloucestershire and was founded in 1984, and launched its first electronic forms product in 1993. It is now the market leader of forms technology and has a registered user base of over 20,000 providing solutions for internal and external data collection.

OfficeForms is designed for companies wishing to reduce levels of bureaucracy, by replacing costly paper-based procedures with on-screen electronic forms. The advantages include faster communications, 100 percent accuracy rate of returned data and reduced labour and distribution costs.


Jane Roberts, Marketing Director

Tel: +44 (0)1453 753955

Fax: +44 (0)1453 753933


Verity Stanford/Mary Brain

Strategic Alliance International

Tel: +44 (0) 1494 434434

E-mail: vstanford/

This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of Strategic Public Relations Ltd in the following categories: Consumer Technology, Personal Finance, Business & Finance, Computing & Telecoms, for more information visit