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The first stage of the pki Challenge - a two-year PKI interoperability project, fully-funded by the European Commission and the Swiss Government - has been completed, announced EEMA today.

Since the start of the project in January 2001, the project management consortium and other interested parties have been working on the definition of the areas of interoperability against which up to 25 European PKI vendors will test their products within a test infrastructure to be built by Consignia at their offices in Chesterfield, UK. The final criteria have now been announced, and can be found in a paper called ‘Interoperability Test Criteria’, available at the pki Challenge web site (

Since the project began, 28 vendors have expressed an interest in testing their products against the criteria, with the project only able to accommodate up to 25. Vendors have now been sent a detailed questionnaire inviting them to submit details of which of their PKI and PKA products they would like to test, and against which criteria. EEMA will then invite 25 of them to become part of the pki Challenge, and enter the testing phase of the project.

“The Interoperability Test Criteria is the culmination of seven and a half months of incredibly hard work, with input from a huge number of people throughout the industry worldwide” commented Kate Hodgson, Technical Consultant at Consignia and an EEMA board member. The final document presents a comprehensive summary of the areas to be tested. Considering the state of the IT market at the moment, we are truly amazed at the amount of interest shown in this project and the number of IT security vendors wishing to take part in the testing of their products”.

Consignia has already started compiling the test plan and by the end of September 2001, the infrastructure’s hardware, software and network components will have been identified, and the infrastructure will be built. The selected PKI vendors will start testing their products remotely against a reference implementation to be supplied by Utimaco Safeware Belgium.


About the pki Challenge -

The pki Challenge (pkiC) is a two-year PKI interoperability project, which started in January 2001. The aim of pkiC is to overcome the current interoperability problems between PKI products, and thus develop specifications and best practice in the world standards arena.

Funded by the European Commission and the Swiss Government, and organised by EEMA (the European Forum for Electronic Business), the project is run by a consortium of 13 organisations who, together with PKI vendors and other interested parties, will develop a framework against which PKI products will be tested to prove interoperability.

The management consortium consists of the following organisations :-

Baltimore Technologies, Belgacom, Consignia, EEMA, GlobalSign, KPMG, Makra, Security and Standards, SmartTrust, University of Leuven, University of Salford, Utimaco Safeware, WISeKey.

The potential active participants to-date are :-

Baltimore Technologies, Biodata, Certicom, Compaq, Conclusive, Consignia, CRYPTOMAThIC, Cylink, Datum, DigiNotar, Entrust®, Gemplus, ISABEL, iT_Security, NetSet, Privador, RSA Security, Safelayer Secure Communications S.A, Secude, Lane Technologies, Shym Technology, SmartTrust, SPYRUS, SSE, SSH Communications Security Corp, Tarmin Solutions, UTI Systems, ValiCert, VeriSign.

About EEMA –

EEMA - the European Forum for Electronic Business - was founded in 1987 and is the leading European non-for-profit e-Business association with the aim of pushing forward the boundaries of e-commerce, technology and legislation.

Its numerous Interest Groups, workshops, conferences and seminars each specialise in areas of current concern, to educate and inform EEMA Members on latest developments and technologies, at the same time enabling members of the association to compare views and ideas.
EEMA works closely with governmental bodies, standards organisations and e-Business initiatives throughout Europe and is an instrumental force in moving European business towards working electronically.

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For further information, or quotes, please contact Ruth Cattell in the first instance (direct tel. +44 1384 374008)

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