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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