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A further piece of the e-business jigsaw is put in place today
with the unveiling of recorded-delivery e-mail.

Developed by a UK team led by ViaCode, the Royal Mail's digital
security services specialist, ViaCode eCourier uses digital
certificate technology to provide time-stamped proof of sending,
proof of opening, and proof of not yet opened for S/MIME

Coupled with ViaCode's high-strength authentication, digital
signatures and encryption, it means Internet e-mail and any
attachments can be signed, sealed and sent recorded delivery -
replacing courier-delivered paper documents for even the most
important and sensitive of business or personal transactions and

ViaCode is seeking technology and service partnerships with ISPs,
ASPs, and other organisations wanting to put eCourier at the
centre of branded secure e-mail services for their customers.

eCourier uses ViaCode digital certificates as its enabling
technology. A sender encrypts and digitally signs an S/MIME
message, together with any attachments using their certificate.
But instead of being posted direct to the recipient, the message
and attachments go first to a dedicated forwarding server where
they are again encrypted - effectively double-wrapped - and
time-stamped, before being forwarded. At the same time the server
sends the originator a time-stamped message received receipt.

When the recipient clicks on the message to open and decrypt it
and any related attachments, client software automatically calls
ViaCode's public certificate directory to check the sender's
authenticity. At the same time it calls the dedicated messaging
server to retrieve a one-off session decryption key. The server
notes the time it was asked for the session key, and sends a
time-stamped 'your message has been opened' receipt to the

In the event that a message and attachments are not opened within
a specified time, the originator receives time-stamped

Martin Roe, ViaCode technical director, says that although the
generation of proof of opening receipts looks compelling, proof of
not opening may prove equally useful to both business and personal
users. "Imagine you're close to the deadline for submitting an
important document. If you get automatic notification that the
message has not been read by the time you specify, then you're
able to make alternative arrangements. Without eCourier, you'd be
none the wiser.

"We also expect that the time-stamped audit trail provided by an
impartial third-party could prove a powerful aid to dispute
resolution. With a ViaCode digital certificate providing
authentication, privacy and message integrity, and eCourier
providing a time-stamped audit trail, we think the jigsaw for this
important aspect of e-business is finally complete."

Further editorial information:

ViaCode - Alison Ingleby - 020 7847 3391

Sage Partnership - Kevin Fiske - 01189 344007

Notes to editors:

ViaCode Ltd is a subsidiary of Royal Mail. The ViaCode service is
underpinned by the world's most proven public key infrastructure
(PKI). ViaCode digital certificates are issued only after rigorous
proof of identity and are instantly revocable with immediate
system-wide effect.

ViaCode digital certificates use full-strength 128-bit
cryptography. A secure key-backup and recovery facility means
critical information, previously encrypted, is not lost in the
event of a certificate being damaged or mislaid. Separate key
pairs for encryption and signing mean ViaCode digital signatures
are non-deniable.

An overview of the technology, security policies and procedures
underpinning ViaCode is available on request. Web site -

This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of The Sage Partnership in the following categories: Consumer Technology, Personal Finance, Business & Finance, Computing & Telecoms, for more information visit