GSA gives digital certificate go-ahead

DALLAS — In a step toward enabling agencies' "digital department" initiatives,

the General Services Administration has given the first vendor the go-ahead

to issue digital certificates under GSA's governmentwide contract for electronic

authentication services.

GSA's Office of Information Security this week approved Digital Signature

Trust Co., one of the three vendors on the Access Certificates for Electronic

Services contract, to start issuing digital certificates to agencies.

The ACES digital certificates can store a user's unique digital signature

to identify that person during an electronic transaction. It also allows

encryption of the information being transmitted. Under ACES, a certificate

issued through one agency can be used at all of the other agencies participating

in the ACES contract.

GSA and DST made the announcement in time for the GSA Federal Technology

Service's annual user conference here, and it is a big step forward in the

use of the contract, said Judith Spencer, director of GSA's Center for Governmentwide

Security.

DST also unveiled a World Wide Web site, www.acesaccess.com, to educate

agencies about the benefits of the ACES contract and how to order services

and certificates.

GSA is working to approve AT&T and Operational Research Consultants

Inc., the other two vendors on ACES, to issue certificates.

DST and ORC also are issuing software-based digital certificates through

the Defense Department's Interim External Certificate Authority program.

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