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The annual report of the Government’s initiative to put UK citizens and commerce at the front of the global Internet revolution has been sealed with two digital signatures.

Published today and available for download from the Office of the e-Envoy’s website (, the report was signed by the Government’s e-Envoy Andrew Pinder, and by Patricia Hewitt, Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, the e-Minister with overall responsibility for the Government's e-agenda.

To apply their signatures, the pair used digital certificates issued and managed by Royal Mail ViaCode. Their certificates are the same type as ViaCode has supplied to the NHS to ensure confidentiality in electronic exchanges of patient data, and to companies in an increasingly wide range of industrial and commercial sectors.

“Digital signatures are fundamental to the development of trust in e-commerce and e-government” said Andrew Pinder, “It was therefore appropriate that we should lead by example, to sign off the PDF version of the UK online annual report 2001. There’s no better way of demonstrating our commitment to digital signatures than using them to sign our report. It’s tamper-proof so everyone can be assured of its integrity.” Pinder added.

Each ViaCode digital certificate is a unique piece of software issued only after stringent face-to-face authentication. The bearer can use it to prove their identity to other Internet users, and to encrypt and digitally sign information or transactions of any type, including Adobe PDF files such as the UK online document. Encryption stops anyone but the intended recipient reading the information. Digital signatures are legally recognised alternatives to pen-on-paper signatures, and also verify that the signed information has not been accidentally or fraudulently altered.

Royal Mail ViaCode (, a subsidiary of Consignia, is one of Europe’s largest providers of managed certificate services with a fast-growing customer base in industry, commerce and the public sector. ViaCode encryption uses industrial-strength cryptography. A secure encryption 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.

Founded in 1982, Adobe Systems Incorporated ( builds award-winning software solutions for network publishing, including Web, ePaper, print, video, wireless and broadband applications. Its graphic design, imaging, dynamic media and authoring tools enable customers to create, manage and deliver visually-rich, reliable content. Headquartered in San Jose, Calif., Adobe is the second-largest PC software company in the U.S., with annual revenues exceeding .2 billion.


Editors’ note:

A photograph of Andrew Pinder (e-Envoy) and Patricia Hewitt (Secretary of State) signing this years annual report with their digital signatures is available from -

Further editorial information:

ViaCode: Jainie Jolliffe - 020 7847 3391

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