Investors Can Open E-Signed AccountsDLJdirect, the Jersey City, N.J.-based online brokerage service of Credit Suisse First Boston Inc., is the first brokerage to enable consumers to use digital signatures to open their accounts. Previously, DLJdirect customers who opened their accounts online needed to sign and return forms through the mail. "Electronic signatures will benefit DLJdirect's online investors by allowing them to conduct business online more easily and faster than ever," says DLJ-direct's general counsel Michael Hogan, who was active in getting the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act passed.

New PKI Standard For XML Is Developed

A new specification to simplify the use of public key infrastructure and digital certificates with XML applications has been introduced by Mountain View, Calif.-based VeriSign Inc., Microsoft Corp. and webMethods Inc., Fairfax, Va. The companies have released the specification, called XML Key Management Specification (XKMS), and are submitting it to the appropriate Web standards bodies for consideration. XKMS is designed to help developers integrate digital signature handling and encryption into their Web-based applications. Functions such as digital certificate processing, revocation status check and certification path specification, which traditionally are built into the PKI application, instead will reside on servers that can be accessed through programmed XML transactions. Microsoft will include XKMS in its Microsoft.NET architecture. XKMS is compatible with emerging standards for Web Services Description Language and simple Object Access Protocol, the three companies claim.

Alpha Trust Upgrades E-Sign Service

Dallas-based Alpha Trust Corp. has upgraded its Guaranteed Electronic Signature Service to include a customized version of E-Lock's Assured Office 4.0. The service, which consists of Alpha Trust's Digital ID and Assured Office 4.0, will enable consumers to electronically sign Microsoft Word, HTML, PDF and JPEG documents. Customers also will be able to purchase additional software to enable signing Excel and Adobe documents.

Equant Launches New DigiCerts Service

Equant, an Amsterdam, Netherlands-based developer of communications networks, recently became one of the world's first network service providers to issue its own digital certificates for securing business-to-business transactions over the Internet. The company launched this system using its own certification authority, which has been independently audited by Deloitte & Touche. The company's digital certificates are based on public key infrastructure technology developed by EnTrust Technologies Inc., Plano, Texas.

TranSenda, ID Certify Team Up

TranSenda International LLC, Redmond, Wash., and Seattle-based ID Certify Inc. have agreed to design and market a system that will enable companies to process forms online that are digitally signed by consumers. ID Certify specializes in digital signature solutions, enabling users to sign and authenticate documents in Microsoft Word, Adobe or Acrobat formats and send them over the Internet. TranSenda is a provider of online forms processing systems for high-volume, secure data handling.

International Acceptance Test

A strategic alliance between Luxembourg-based EuroSignCard, S.A. and Digital Signature Trust Co., Salt Lake City, will test the international acceptance of digital certificates. The alliance creates a network that will enable recognition of digital certificates issued by certificate authorities in both nations to enable legal transactions, contracts, applications and documents to move from paper to the Internet. The combination of DST's identify validation and authentication with EuroSignCard's position in the European Union forms a strong voice for mutual recognition of certificates, says E. J. Lorang, managing director of EuroSignCard. "We see this as enabling e-commerce between the two continents."

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