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Vodafone UK today announces that the UK's first secure mobile electronic
signature trial will start next month. The groundbreaking trial, to be
conducted with the Radiocommunications Agency (RA), an Executive Agency
of
the Department of Trade & Industry (DTI), will establish the electronic
signature technology that will underpin mobile commerce.
"As mobile penetration reaches new heights, the latest developments in
mobile technology will change the way we use our mobile devices. The
latest
technology will offer customers the ability to sign transactions
securely,
wherever they are. We are pleased to be a part of this innovative trial
which will demonstrate how electronic signatures could become part of
our
everyday lives," commented Patricia Hewitt, the Minister for Small
Business
and E-Commerce.
Peter Bamford, Chief Executive Northern Europe, for the Vodafone Group,
said, "Legally recognisable electronic signatures are fundamental to our
mobile commerce strategy. As the Government have already announced plans
to
allow individuals to submit tax returns electronically using digital
signatures, we hope that these trials will go some way towards
establishing
the technology and help the DTI to promote the UK as the European leader
of
mobile commerce.
"Using information contained on their SIM smartcard, present in mobile
phones, Vodafone customers will have the potential to use their mobile
device whenever and wherever they currently use their signature. Whereas
today we write cheques, pay by credit card or debit card, sign mortgage
or
stock trading contracts and in our working environments sign holiday
forms
or timesheets, in the future these transactions could all be completed
using
just your mobile device. The trials will demonstrate that the technology
is
easy to use and provides a more secure method of authorisation than our
current hand-written signatures", he continued.
Mobile phones with in-built smartcards provide an ideal platform for the
technology and this will be verified during the trial with the RA. In
line
with current EU Directives, the encrypted signatures are generated
through
advanced, highly secure techniques developed by SmartTrust, GlobalSign,
Giesecke & Devrient and Secartis, with Vodafone enabling the techniques
to
be incorporated into the mobile network.
For the purposes of the trial, fifty RA staff will complete and
electronically sign their travel or subsistence forms while away from
the
office, using a Siemens C35I digital GSM mobile phone. When prompted,
users
will enter a PIN number to release a cryptographic signature that is
more
secure than hand-written signatures as it guarantees the signature is
unique
and ensures the integrity of the data being signed.
Other industries are expected to embrace cryptographic signatures
wherever
there are demanding security requirements and, indeed, some banks have
started to test these services.

- ends -

Press & Analyst Contact
GlobalSign
Juergen Dierickx
Tel: + 32 2 724 3636
Fax: + 32 2 724 3637
juergen.dierickx@globalsign.net

Vodafone Group Press Office
Janine Young or Michelle Burgess
Tel: 07000 500100
Press.office@vodafone.com

NOTES TO EDITORS

· Vodafone Group Plc is the largest mobile communications network
in the
world with operations in 24 countries worldwide, serving a proportionate
customer base of over 65.75 million.

· Vodafone is the most popular mobile network operator in the UK
with more
than 10.24 million customers.

· SmartTrust has supplied hardware and software platforms to run
the
application for the DTI, in order to request signatures and verify their
authenticity.

· GlobalSign has delivered the root certificate, the core of the
trust
hierarchy, which offers recognition to all certificates used in this
project.

· Secartis has designed and implemented the security architecture
including
the directory of certificates that are vital to proving authenticity of
signatures.

· Giesecke and Devrient has developed the smartcards.

· Digital signatures employing PKI systems provide:
Confidentiality - to guard against eavesdropping; Authentication - the identity
of the individual is proven; Integrity - information cannot be manipulated; Non-Repudation - for dispute resolution

· At present, SIM cards do not have the functionality to enable
electronic
signatures. However in the near future, SIM cards with this
functionality
will be introduced.

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