NEW YORK AND PARIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Oct. 2, 1996--Eleven major information technology vendors and user organizations today announced the formation of an alliance to develop an exportable, worldwide approach to strong encryption. The goal of the alliance is to enable companies to conduct secure international electronic commerce.
The alliance was formed in response to demand from customers who are conducting more and more of their business processes electronically. Internationally available strong encryption would enable these firms to send sensitive information securely over the Internet and other international networks.
The companies forming the alliance will achieve this by developing modern, high-level cryptographic "key-recovery" solutions that meet the requirements of business and could allow easing of restrictions of cryptographic import/export around the world.
Members of the alliance are Apple Computer, Inc., Atalla, Digital Equipment Corporation, Groupe Bull, Hewlett-Packard Company, IBM, NCR Corp., RSA, Sun Microsystems, Inc., Trusted Information Systems and UPS. The alliance is also open to other companies with an interest in key recovery.
"Keys" are strings of computer code that lock and unlock data. Key recovery is an approach that permits the recovery of lost or damaged keys without the need to store or "escrow" them with a third party. This approach could also meet the needs of law enforcement to act under the authority of a court order without risking the confidentiality of business data.
Modern, high-level cryptography works to ensure four critical elements of security -- Confidentiality: prevents against unauthorized parties from seeing information; Integrity: determines that information has not been changed during transit; Authentication: verifies the identity of the user and the user's eligibility to access and use information; Non-Repudiation: provides evidence that a transaction took place, for example, that a customer actually placed an order.
"Apple recognizes and supports the need for key recovery, and we are pleased to be a part of the alliance," said Ellen Hancock, chief technology officer and executive vice president of R&D for Apple Computer, Inc. "We believe that this alliance will help industry lead in developing solutions for secure transactions while prompting the evolution of the Internet as a business environment."
"Securing commerce over the Internet using strong encryption technologies will require a common set of standards and approaches to fundamental security issues such as key recovery and key management," said Robert Gargus, Atalla president and general manager. "Once these standards are accepted and globally deployed, public networks such as the Internet will provide a secure, multi-national commercial trading environment for worldwide electronic commerce."
"The alliance has struck a balance between government and business needs," said CommerceNet Chairman Marty Tenenbaum. "Allowing encryption to this degree opens the door to the proliferation of electronic commerce."
"Strong encryption is a necessary element in delivering secure network business solutions to our customers worldwide. Key recovery is a mechanism that addresses government policy concerns about the export of strong encryption while at the same time meeting growing commercial needs," said Sam Fuller, vice president and chief scientist for Digital Equipment Corporation. "Digital sees this alliance as an effective means to develop open and interoperable key recovery standards."
"Electronic Commerce is planned to be $1T by the year 2010 according to experts. The capability to have secured transactions is a prerequisite for the market," said Alain Couder, senior executive vice president of Groupe Bull. "Groupe Bull had been actively involved in the search for a solution to provide a balance between the legitimate need for users to have privacy, for corporations to protect their trade secrets and relationships and for governments to maintain national security. Bull has the ambition to be a leading provider of this capability with key encryption technology, smart cards and its Internet products and services."
"HP is pleased to be a founding member of the alliance," said Richard W. Sevcik, HP vice-president and general manager of the Systems Technology Group. "Exportable strong encryption is a key enabler for international electronic commerce and provides businesses with the ability to perform secure transactions and other communications regardless of geography. Key recovery is one of several technologies that will be important."
"Key recovery will truly open the Internet for serious business," said Irving Wladawsky-Berger, general manager, IBM Internet Division. "Once businesses are confident that their electronic transactions are safe and they control the recovery of keys, a flood of new market opportunities will open. The Internet is rapidly shifting from a place to browse for information to an environment for conducting real business."
"Export controls are a fact of life," said Jim Bidzos, president of RSA Data Security. "The key recovery alliance's approach will allow companies to use cryptography with differing levels of security in an interoperable way. When the alliance implements this technology it will give the user a new level of flexibility that did not exist before. In an imperfect world this technique will at least allow you to take advantage of what governments around the world will allow."
"We're delighted to be part of the alliance because we believe the adoption of a worldwide standard for key recovery is essential to solving current network security problems," said Stephen T. Walker, president and CEO of TIS. "User-controlled key recovery systems including our own products have already demonstrated that user privacy concerns and exportability requirements can be successfully addressed. But there must be worldwide interoperability. And it is our hope that the alliance will be able to accomplish that."
"The work of the alliance could have a profound impact on conducting international business over the Internet," said Joe Pyne, UPS vice president of marketing. "UPS is committed to improving the movement of both information and packages in secure and time sensitive manners. The alliance allows us to combine our expertise, energies and financial strength to quickly develop standards that will open the door for rapid development of products and services."
Apple Computer, Inc.
Digital Equipment Corp.
RSA Data Communications
Sun Microsystems Inc.
Trusted Information Systems
BW0153 OCT 02,1996
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