Commerce takes stock of security systems

In its quest to become a digital department by 2002, the Commerce Department is taking inventory of its electronic signature and public-key infrastructure projects.

A memorandum sent out last month by Roger Baker, Commerce's chief information officer, asks the CIOs in the department to identify planned or existing electronic signature/PKI projects "that may serve as models for use by other operating units in the future."

A PKI system relies on digital certificates to verify the identities of people conducting business with the federal government electronically.

A survey accompanying the memo asks for project details, such as what product and vendor are being used, what the system does, what type of information is being processed and whether the system can work with other federal or private electronic signature/PKI systems. The survey also asks for program points of contact and for information on any existing PKI educational programs.

"This is a first step in leveraging the existing departmental knowledge to build the digital department," Baker said in the memo. "This survey will be used to develop an information base which will be used to develop policies and make future recommendations on ES/PKI."

Survey responses are due by February 11.

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