Companies looking for a route to secure Ecommerce will be encouraged by last week's launch of an independent European authority, backed by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the European Commission (EC). The International Commerce eXchange (ICX) has been set up with the backing of the DTI and funding from the EC. It is a consortium that will act as a central authourity for Ecommerce security, technical, regulatory and business issues, open to all business users, suppliers and governments. It hopes to produce workable solutions and guidelines for European businesses, and to provide a voice for Europe in the global Internet marketplace. Chris Taper, principal consultant in Ecommerce and security at ICL, was involved in setting up the ICX, for which he is treasurer of the board. "There is a danger this initiative may be seen (by the Internet community) as too business-led," he admitted. "I would welcome the opportunity (to talk to) civil liberties groups." He added that the ICX is already influencing government policy, as the head of the DTI's Information Security Policy Group, Nigel Hickson, has been involved in setting up the organisation. He added that the Labour government seems "more attuned" to Internet issues than its predecessor. Meanwhile, two companies have released new products in the UK containing strong 128-bit encryption. Nanoteq's NetSeq Virtual Server uses a Global ID from Verisign that allows users with compatible browsers to access online services securely. However, the technology is only available to banks and financial institutions. Trusted Information Systems' (TIS) RecoverKey technology uses a Key Recovery Centre (KRC), a hardware and software solution, to offer businesses a complete encryption package with emergency key recovery. However, to use a US government-approved KRC, an organisation has to prove it is a bona fide business, although TIS hopes in the future that the UK government could approve businesses on behalf of its US counterpart.
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