Barclays Bank has selected leading Internet Commerce company CertCo and its CertAuthority Solution for Barclays Endorse, a pioneering smart card-based digital signature service. The UK government is to make first use of the service by enabling individuals to register their newly self-employed status across the Internet in a six-month trial commencing last Friday. The trial marks an important milestone in the country’s Better Government Programme, which is designed to make UK government services more efficient, simple and accessible.
CertCo’s CertAuthority Solution technology provides Barclays with the “root” certificate authority (CA) technology needed to ensure that the digital signatures on the forms are just as reliable as manually signed paper documents. “We selected CertAuthority Solution for two reasons,” said Steve Collins, director of Barclays Emerging Markets Group. “CertCo’s patented technology is the most secure technology available, and the company understands the role of banks in managing risk in Internet government and commerce.”
As a root CA, Barclays serves as the touchstone in an electronic hierarchy whereby the bank verifies the citizens’ digital signatures and ensures the government that Barclays has authenticated these signatures. CertCo is the only root CA vendor that, using its unique Multi-Step SigningTM technology, reduces the risk of fraudulent certification by splitting the private key into fragments, which are then stored on tamper-evident hardware tokens (PCMCIA cards). Multiple administrators then use their fragments of the private key to approve or deny digital certificate requests.
“The combination of CertCo’s secure technology and Barclays’ sound business practices removes the inherent risk from these transactions and makes a digital signature on an electronic form far more certain than ink on paper,” said Jay Simmons, senior vice president at CertCo. “This same risk-reduction model will eventually unleash the true potential of Internet commerce in the UK and around the world.”
How the Barclays Endorse trial works
Citizens who are starting their own businesses are required to register with three government departments: Contributions Agency, Inland Revenue and HM Customs and Excise. Using smart cards and readers in their home personal computers or in select Barclays branches, the Barclays Endorse trial enables users to submit streamlined electronic intelligent forms, (“I-forms”), digitally sign the documents and transmit them to the government.
To enable this registration process, Barclays will use The CertAuthority Solution to issue digital certificates – binding electronic identities – to two systems: the signature authorization server and the bank entity that activates cryptographic keys in Barclays Endorse Cards so that cardholders can digitally sign information and transmit certificates.
About Barclays PLC
Barclays PLC is a UK-based financial services group and one of the UK’s largest companies. Barclays provides retail banking products to a wide range of personal and business customers, as well as investment banking and asset management expertise to a global client base. Barclays has been involved in banking in the UK for over 300 years and today operates in around 70 countries world-wide, including all the major financial centres. In the UK, Barclays serves over 10 million personal customers and is the largest credit card issuer in Europe with 9.4 million Barclaycards in circulation. The company serves around 438,000 small business customers, nearly one in three middle market businesses. The Large Corporate Banking Business manages relationships with 370 customers of the Barclays Group.
CertCo enables banks, corporations and other trust entities to build a worldwide trust infrastructure to support high-value, secure electronic commerce. The company combines its experience in cryptography, risk management, law, regulation, technology and banking with the expertise of its accomplished management team to deliver secure and cost-effective electronic business solutions. These business solutions, which include the distribution of risk, enable trust entities to open doors to electronic business and to offer profitable services to other organizations.
Established in 1996, CertCo is headquartered in New York City. For more information about CertCo, please visit .
CertCo, The CertAuthority Solution, CertAuthority, Root CertAuthority, Commerce CertAuthority and Multi-Step Signing are trademarks of CertCo LLC. All other trademarks are the property of their respective companies.