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[FYI] ITU: "A global framework for authentication in e-commerce"

CORDIS RTD-NEWS/ European Communities, 2000.  

Record Control Number: 14210  

Date: 2000-01-26  

Category: Miscellaneous  

General Information:  

A high level group of experts, including representatives from the 
European Commission, met at the International Telecommunication Union 
(ITU) Headquarters on 9 and 10 December to discuss the regulatory, 
technical and legal obstacles to the use of authentication 
technologies across borders.  

The group agreed on a set of recommendations for areas where the ITU 
would have a useful role to play in overcoming these obstacles. These 
recommendations will be put to the ITU's governing body at their next 
meeting in July 2000.  

"We believe that the ITU, with its unique expertise, experience 
working closely with industry is well placed to help facilitate 
electronic authentication and foster a global dialogue about 
authentication measures and issues", said Fred Cate, Professor of Law 
and Director of the Information Law and Commerce Institute at the 
Indiana University School of Law, who chaired the meeting.  

The ITU aims to find and develop a model to serve as the basis for 
authentications across borders. The group agreed that the ITU should 
encourage voluntary, rather than mandatory approaches, and should 
focus on areas where international dialogue is needed.  

Market-based initiatives and standards and of private arrangements 
for authentication should be encouraged, while the needs of 
developing countries, and social and cultural concerns should be 

Building trust will be crucial to the future development of e-
commerce. This implies a confidence that on-line purchases, funds 
transfers, and business deals will be as valid as traditional 
activities, and for this, transactions will need to ensure a 
recognised system of authentication across borders.  

Several countries have already adopted legislation on electronic 
signatures, and it is being actively considered in many others 
including the EU. However the global nature of the Internet makes it 
vital that government and industry collaborate to harmonise national 
approaches to authentication.  

'E-commerce has reached a stage where it is critically important to 
agree on international approaches in the areas of electronic 
signatures and authentication if we don't want to see the emergence 
of fundamentally discordant standards as to what constitutes a 
'signature' or what constitutes valid certificates in different 
jurisdictions', said Cate.  

Data Source Provider: ITU News  

Document Reference: Based on a press release from the ITU  

Subject Index Codes: Information Processing, Information Systems  

Contact Person:  

For further information, please contact:  

                    Mr Arthur Levin 
                    Legal Affairs Officer 
                    Legal Affairs Unit 
                    Tel. +41-22-7306113; Fax +41-22-7306503 
                    E-mail: levin@itu.int