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ESign to Issue ABN Digital Certificates

SYDNEY -- Almost a year after their introduction for business, the Australian Business Number (ABN) has become an electronic entity with e-commerce security provider eSign the first authority able to issue ABN digital signing certificates (ABN-DSCs) to support electronic business transactions.

eSign, which is an Australian VeriSign partner, has gained commercial accreditation as both a Registration Authority (RA) and a Certification Authority (CA) under the Federal Government's Gatekeeper strategy for the use of Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) technology in government transactions. The dual accreditation enables eSign to manage PKI solutions based on customers' individual requirements, said eSign managing director Gregg Rowley.

The ABN-DSC can be used as a validating signature in a range of electronic transactions, particularly supporting business-to-government e-commerce. The ability to complete such transactions online will become increasingly relevant as the Federal Government makes more transactions available electronically to meet its policy of moving all appropriate services online by 2001.

The RA and CA accreditation enables eSign to offer businesses a PKI solution with the need for third party RA, which will make it easier for these organisations to implement Gatekeeper-compliant digital certificates. The accreditation also makes eSign a kind of one-stop-shop for PKI requirements to deal with government online, said Rowley.

"Full Gatekeeper accreditation of eSign as a commercial CA and RA is a significant achievement for the Government Online strategy," maintained National Office for the Information Economy chief executive officer John Rimmer. "The ability for government agencies and organisations to obtain a range of PKI requirements from one vendor will contribute towards ensuring the availability of secure government services - and instilling business and consumer confidence in transacting online." Rimmer anticipated the accreditation would enhance B2G transactions across all sectors.

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