Electronic Authentication: Issues Relating to its Selection and Use

A major output (2002) of the eSecurity Task Group of the APEC Telecommunications and Information Working Group - a comprehensive atlas of the policy and inter-government issues relating to authentication and "trust". 


In their 1998 Blueprint for Action1, APEC Ministers recognised the enormous potential of electronic
commerce to expand business opportunities, reduce costs, increase efficiency, improve the quality
of life, and facilitate the greater participation of small business in global commerce. A cornerstone
in achieving that potential is providing the tools that will allow parties to transactions to know
with certainty the degree of reliance they can place on that transaction. Electronic authentication
provides such tools through technologies that can ensure the authenticity of transactions. Some of the
technologies also provide integrity, non-repudiation and confidentiality functions.
Electronic authentication is a developing field. As it evolves new technologies and new issues emerge.
Addressing these issues is a problem for both users and government policy makers. For this reason it
was agreed at TEL 18 that the then Public Key Authentication Task Group address all authentication
technologies. This report identifies the major issues involved in selecting and using electronic
authentication to provide APEC member economies with guidance when developing policy and legal
frameworks to support electronic authentication. The report addresses the issues in general, examines
five different groups of technologies, and documents how these relate to the issues raised. It also
addresses some of the legal issues involved with the use of electronic authentication.


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