RSA Data Security has run into trouble in its effort to get its S/MIME technology ratified as a standard. Last week the company stated that it had formally applied to the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) to have its S/MIME encryption technology made a standard. However, Paul Hoffman, director of standards body Internet Mail Consortium (IMC), which handles pre-standards along with the IETF, told PC Week: "RSA has not applied to have S/MIME made a standard." Tim Matthews, RSA product manager, said the announcement had been "misinterpreted". RSA's eagerness to have its technology ratified as a standard is well known, but so far its efforts have come to nothing. In September, the IETF and the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), rejected RSA's proposals in favour of PGP's OpenPGP technology. RSA's next step was to try to get an IETF working group set up in order to drive the technology towards the standards process. Hoffman explained: "RSA simply took a few steps towards getting an S/MIME working group set up, which it has to do to get its technology ratified. RSA was seeking credit for the work it has done thus far." He added: "This isn't the first time RSA has done something like this." There is speculation that both RSA's and PGP's technologies could become Internet standards, but that is not what the IMC wants. "If both become standards there will obviously be confusion," Hoffman explained. The IMC will be asking its members to vote on a single technology in January.
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