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Outsourcing digital signatures: a solution to key management burden

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Purpose ? Digital signatures are only enjoying a gradual and reluctant acceptance, despite the long existence of the relevant legal and technical frameworks. One of the major drawbacks of client-generated digital signatures is the requirement for effective and secure management of the signing keys and the complexity of the cryptographic operations that must be performed by the signer. Outsourcing digital signatures to a trusted third party would be an elegant solution to the key management burden. Aims to investigate whether this is legally and technically feasible. Design/methodology/approach ? In this paper's approach a relying party trusts a Signature Authority (SA) for the tokens it issues, rather than a Certification Authority for the certificates it creates in a traditional public key infrastructure scheme. Findings ? The paper argues that passing the control of signature creation to a SA rather than the signer herself, is not a stronger concession than the dependence on an identity certificate issued by a Certification Authority. Originality/value ? The paper proposes a framework for outsourced digital signatures.

Keywords: Communication technologies; Data security; Digital signatures; Information systems

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2006-10-01

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