Deutsche backs digital signature alliance

Deutsche backs digital signature alliance

Deutsche Bank has welcomed the formation of the 'Alliance for Electronic Singatures', a German government-led initiative to build a common infrastructure for e-business and e-government applications using digital identity-based smart cards.

The formation of the Alliance was first mooted by the Federal Ministry of the Interior last year with the aim of agreeing common standards on interoperability for the mutual acceptance of signature cards by the business community and government departments.

Hermann-Josef Lamberti, a board member of Deutsche Bank and a founding member of the Alliance, says: "Banks like Deutsche Bank have a vested interest in seeing the digital signature succeed. With our digitalised banking services, such as online banking, we already provide important signature compatible applications."

Under the Alliance framework, Deutsche Bank wants to offer its customers the option of a smart card with a digital signature chip. The bank already uses a chip card-based procedure in its business with corporate clients. In the medium term, signature compatible employee ID cards are to follow.

The Digital Signature Alliance concept will extend the use of the cards beyond pure banking functionality to cover a range of other applications in online business and communication processes, such as legally binding signed agreements, electronic tax returns, vehicle registrations, bookings and purchases on the Internet or e-mail encryption.

It is envisaged that users will need a card-reading device attached to their PCs which will operate in concert with the chip card to generate a "qualified" electronic signature that will have the same legal status as a pen-and-paper signature.

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