Policy creates bridge to digital certificates
- By Diane Frank
- Jul 12, 2000
Federal PKI Steering Committee
Federal employees will soon have the policy basis for using electronic authentication
technologies across agencies, and before the end of the year, they should
have the technologies to support those policies.
The Federal Public Key Infrastructure Steering Committee developed the Federal
Bridge Certificate Authority to provide each agency with the ability to
accept digital certificates from other agencies. The committee will make
its policy available through a federal policy authority group that will
be in place by the end of the month, said Richard Guida, chairman of the
committee, at the E-Gov conference in Washington, D.C., Tuesday.
"The policy authority being in place will be the opening bell for agencies
to develop applications to interoperate with the bridge," he said.
Five agencies have working PKI systems and at least a dozen more are using
digital certificates in pilots to authenticate and encrypt their electronic
transactions, so each agency must be able to accept the certificates from
other agencies, Guida said. The policy governing that will be developed
and enforced by the policy authority, a group of representatives from each
of the agencies involved in the bridge.
The policy authority group includes the departments of Justice, Treasury,
Defense and Commerce, the General Services Administration and the Office
of Management and Budget. As agencies decide to use the bridge, they will
also join the policy authority, Guida said.
The PKI Steering Committee, now under the CIO Council's Enterprise Interoperability
and Emerging IT Committee, successfully demonstrated the bridge in April.
The committee is working on a two-node bridge that should be operational
in October. The steering committee is waiting for funding in the fiscal
2001 budget to complete the full bridge, Guida said.