Europe faces PKI Challenge

Information Security Solutions Europe conference

Mirroring the U.S. Federal PKI Steering Committee's goal of interoperability,

European officials will begin work in 01/on a two-year project to bring

together the various public-key infrastructure technologies in use throughout

Europe.

The European Electronic Messaging Association proposed a PKI Challenge

to the European Commission, the executive administration of the European

Union, earlier this year. The EU government will fund the project through

2003.

The project came into being when EEMA, a private/public organization,

decided to do something about the fact that the different PKI technologies

used throughout the European Union make it difficult to perform secure electronic

transactions across the EU's 12 participating countries.

The group felt it had to step in because "the vendors just aren't doing

it on their own," Jim Dickson, membership director of EEMA, said during

the Information Security Solutions Europe conference in Barcelona, Spain.

The PKI Challenge has three main objectives:

* To promote interoperability among a wide range of PKI products, PKI-enabled

applications and certification service providers.

* To demonstrate that it is possible to build an integrated, heterogeneous

public-key infrastructure through showcases and public demonstrations.

* To promote PKI specifications and best practices within the world

standards arena.

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