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Anderson on SSL

One of the mags I get for free is called _OEM_. It recently ran an interview
with Marc Anderssen from Netscape. I'll key in a few crypto-relevant passages.


Q. Everyone's looking for ways to make money on the World Wide Web. What is the
future for advertisers on the Web?

A. Advertisements in an interactive medium definitely function best as a
service; really, the line between advertising, informational marketing and
direct sales blurs incredibly quickly. I expect a lot of creativity to be
devoted to pulling people into commercial sites and keeping them there,
including continuing sponsorship of innovative content.

Q. Do you see many small transactions as a possible model for making money on
the Web?

A. Tiny transactions will be a part of the grand scheme of things. They'll make
possible the 2-cent joke of the day and lots of appropriate forms of content.

Q. How will people deal with getting costs down for each transaction to eke out
a profit?

A. That's the challenge for the companies that intent to make money processing
tiny transactions. I can't wait to see who does it first.

Q. Now that the InterNIC has started to charge for domain names, do you, as an
Internaut, miss the anarchistic, "anything goes" community the Net once was?

A. The Internet was never really anarchistic and "anything goes". It was always
a cooperative venture that everyone derived benefit from. That's pretty much
the case.

In fact, I still get a thrill -- more now than ever -- when I go through
directories like Yahoo. There's much more out there on the Net now. Everything
is accelerating.


Q. Do you think that the Netspace's Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is the de facto
standard for Internet security now?

A. SSL is a de facto standard, widely adopted throughout the industry by
Microsoft, Novell, Apple, IBM, Sun, Digital Equipment, Intel, MasteCard, Visa,
etc. The security space is a very broad space, though, and SSL solves a
specifically defined set of problems: encryption and authentication for a
secure data channel over TCP/IP.

There are many other problems yet to solve. Other protocols will play a role in
solving those problems, and we will support them.

Q. What happened to the deal with Enterprise Integration Technologies and its
Secure Hypertext Protocol (S-HTTP), which was Netscape's only real competition
in the area of secure server software?

A. Early this year, we announced that Netscape (along with IBM/Prodigy, America
Online and Compuserve) became an investor and partner in Terisa Systems, which
was previously a joint venture of EIT and RSA Data Security. All Parties agreed
to support both SSL and S-HTTP.

Unfortunately, Terisa has been unable to ship its toolkit, so things haven't
gone as well as we had all hoped. In the meantime, virtually everyone is
supporting SSL [but not S-HTTP].

Q. Do you think that your server software, and especially your protocol Secure
Courier, will lessen the public perception that credit-card entries aren't safe
on the Net?

A. I think it's happening. We're in the middle of a broad shift in consumer
behavior, and there will be a lot of exciting things happening over the next
few years as a result. Things are definitely warming up right now.

Of course, one of the great things about doing business on the Net is that it's
a lot cheaper for the merchant than doing business in the "real" world. One of
the broad trends we're starting to see is that a lot of entrepreneurial
companies will be coming up on the Net. They, more than anyone, will help drive
the shift in consumer behavior by offering innovative goods and services and
innovative ways.



<a href="mailto:[email protected]">Dr. Dimitri Vulis</a>
Brighton Beach Boardwalk BBS, Forest Hills, N.Y.: +1-718-261-2013, 14.4Kbps