Australia Puts Baltimore in the Box Seat for Security

The Australian government confirmed Baltimore
Technologies’ first-mover advantage in the race to win government contracts
to build a public key infrastructure for public sector transactions by
awarding it the first official accreditation for its digital certificates.

Certificates Australia, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Baltimore, was named
as the first Certification Authority (CA) to be compliant with the federal
government’s Gatekeeper Standard by the Government Public Key Authority
(GPKA).

Project Gatekeeper is the government’s extremely long process for
specifying how digital signatures and certificates should look, act and be
handled to ensure electronic transactions with government agencies are
legally sound.

The government said several agencies were discussing possible applications
for the CA, including the Office for Government Online (OGO), the
Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and employment agency Centrelink.
The first Gatekeeper application is expected to be the ATO “roll out of
Australian Business Numbers”, according to OGO, followed by an electronic
tax return lodgement service.

This latest win for Baltimore comes less than two months after it won the
most prestigious account in the Australian finance industry, providing
certification technology and services to the Australian Payments Clearing
Association (APCA), a syndicate containing all the major banking
institutions in the country.

Baltimore is the result of a merger last year of U.K. vendor Zergo and
US-based developer Baltimore Technologies, with Intel retaining a minority
shareholding.

Zergo merged earlier in 1998 with Security Domain, a Sydney start-up
whose staff will be the main providers of services on the APCA
implementation.

The other big winner out of the latest spate of announcements on
Gatekeeper-related projects has been Secure Network Solutions, which has
taken over the CA service abandoned by national postal carrier Australia
Post, called KeyPOST, and was also a key partner for the Australian
Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) in last week’s launch of a
secure electronic company registration service.

Notable absentees from these accounts have been Network Associates and Spyrus.
Accreditation by the GPKA is now expected to be sought by Baltimore’s
competitors.

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