Cryptography giants work towards common standard

Eighteen-month collaboration should leave way open for e-commerce boom

Competing cryptography vendors came together Wednesday to discuss ways of interoperating the different digital signature technologies across Europe.

The parties involved in the Trust Infrastructure for Europe (TIE) project will work on developing the technical specification for a system of interoperability over three sequential six-month stages. The participants include: ICL, IBM, Baltimore Technologies, Utimaco, Safeware, The Open Group, the Catholic University of Leuven, Shell Services Internatonal, EC Advantagem EEMA, ICX and the British Post Office.

TIE, which is partially funded by the European Commission, was set up to improve interoperability in order to boost European e-commerce. Representatives will draw on PKI (Public Key Infrastructure) encryption standards and attempt to combine the Certification and Registration Authorities.

After the three periods, the consortium will attempt to demonstrate a co-operative infrastructure to the European e-commerce community.

Andreas Servida, the European head of TIE, believes the process is vital to the future success of European business. "TIE is important because it proves that worthwhile co-operation in this critical area between so many companies is possible," Servida said. "Trust in business dealings is very important and TIE is one of the projects that will help to pursue the goals of a single market for trust services and yield real benefits from the development of the information society."