E-commerce certification moves ahead in SE Asia

Singapore and Malaysia have both announced new initiatives to develop a secure electronic commerce infrastructure and position themselves as regional leaders in the online business transaction world.

The Malaysian government has approved the establishment of a Certification Authority (CA) to be in charge of issuing digital signatures for use in e-commerce, the national news agency Bernama has reported. The Digicert consortium is the second CA to be set up in Southeast Asia after Singapore's Netrust Pte.

Netrust, set up in May 1997, last week signed a broad alliance with IBM to integrate Netrust security products with Big Blue's e-business software packages.

The Digicert consortium, Malaysia's first and only CA, is led by Pos Malaysia with a 40 per cent equity stake, Internet service provider Mimos with 30 per cent and GITN with 30 per cent, Bernama reported.

Deputy Energy, Communications and Multimedia Minister Chan Kong Choy said that since Malaysia's Digital Signature Act had come into force in early October, six companies had applied to be a CA, according to Bernama. For now, Bernama reported, the Malaysian government will allow only one CA, and the appointment of a second CA will be considered if the response for Digital Signature certificates is good.

In Singapore, Netrust is continuing its drive to offer secure e-commerce with an agreement for IBM to offer "Netrust-ready" e-business packages.

IBM's e-business solutions for the retail, banking, manufacturing and government sectors are now Netrust-ready as they are able to use Netrust digital certificates, according to Netrust general manager Ben Yeo.

The IBM Netrust Redirector is a low-cost solution that deploys Netrust online identification and security infrastructure on existing Web sites. This install-and-go software module securely authenticates the person accessing the Web site, and enables e-commerce transactions over the Internet using Netrust digital signature certificates, Netrust said.

Other IBM products such as Net.Commerce, VisualAge, WebSphere and DB2 Universal Database will also allow integration of Netrust online identification and security infrastructure, the companies said.

Netrust is a joint venture between the government's National Computer Board (NCB) and the bank consortium-owned Network for Electronic Transfers (Singapore). (NETS), set up to provide business and government departments in Singapore with an online identification and security infrastructure.

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