[ISN] Experts to debate Internet security in Copenhagen

From: jerichot_private
Date: Mon Apr 20 1998 - 19:23:30 PDT

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               Experts to debate Internet security in Copenhagen
    RTw  4/20/98 6:08 PM  
        BRUSSELS, April 20 (Reuters) - Business, legal and government experts
    gather in Copenhagen later this week to discuss ways to promote security on
    the Internet and other electronic networks.
         More than 200 people from Europe, Japan, the United States and other
    countries are expected to attend a hearing on Thursday and Friday on
    digital signatures and encryption -- the technologies used to ensure that
    electronic exchanges are authentic and confidential.
         The hearing, sponsored by the Danish government and the European
    Commission, will clear the way for new European Union legislation on
    digital signatures.
         Such signatures are considered crucial for transactions ranging from
    filing tax forms with the government to buying goods over the Internet.
         "We see digital signatures as one of the main barriers for the
    development of electronic commerce," Per Sorensen, an official in the
    Danish Research and Information Technology Ministry, told Reuters.
         He said rules were needed at national, European and international
    level to address questions such as legal recognition of digital signatures,
    consumer protection and "when something goes wrong, who is liable?"
         Denmark has already proposed a law on the question and the Commission,
    the EU executive, is set to propose EU rules on digital and other
    electronic signatures in May, taking into account input from the hearing.
         The United States has proposed that countries draw up an international
    convention on recognition of electronic signatures for legal and commercial
         The Commission, in a theme paper prepared for the hearing, said rules
    should set minimum requirements for "certification authorities" -- or third
    parties who verify the identity of digital signatories -- and for relevant
    software and hardware.
         It said it also wanted advice on liability, specifically how to
    protect consumers without setting rules that are so strict that companies
    hesitate to serve as certification authorities.
         The hearing will also address the broader question of how the market
    for cryptography products and services is developing, looking at issues
    such as standards, business use, and export controls that interfere with
    intra-EU trade.
         It will include a session on law enforcement, reflecting concerns that
    widespread use of cryptography could interfere with efforts to fight
    organised crime and terrorism.
         Sorensen said it would focus on technical aspects rather than on the
    more controversial question of whether governments should restrict the use
    of encryption, as France has done. REUTERS
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