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And now for something completely different, a Euro-centric plan for Net
digital commerce.

Haven't had a chance to look at the URL yet, but obviously crypto-relevant...

Development of Electronic Marketplace:

Zürich, November 2nd, 1995:

     Backed by the European Commission, a consortium of 20 partners
from European industry and academia has embarked on a research project
to develop the fundamentals for secure electronic commerce.
     The goal of the 9-million ECU (approx. 14 million CHF) project,
SEMPER (Secure Electronic Marketplace for Europe), is to provide the
first open and comprehensive solutions for secure commerce over the
Internet and other public information networks.

A wide range of businesses are rapidly moving to explore the huge
potential of networked information systems, especially with the
Internet-based WWW (World-wide Web). The Internet, which already
connects more than 3 million computers and a substantially larger
number of users, is growing at a breathtaking pace with thousands of
newcomers every day.

Although the Internet has its roots in academia and is still dominated
by free-of-charge information, dramatic changes are expected in the
near future. For instance, the WWW will be used for a wide variety of
electronic commerce such as on- line trade or delivery of advanced
multimedia information services. The evolution of broadband networks
and "information highways" will intensify this trend.

The need for secure transactions in this new business environment,
which involves networks available to the general public, has triggered
a number of related efforts.  These initial developments are based
almost exclusively in the US and most of them are limited to
proprietary, or otherwise closed solutions, involving only electronic
payment issues. In contrast, SEMPER is directed towards a
comprehensive solution for secure electronic commerce, considering
legal, commercial, social, and technical requirements as well as
different options for an electronic marketplace.

Consistent with its broader goals, the SEMPER project will be managed
by an interdisciplinary team of experts from the academic, industrial
and general business environment in Europe. The team includes
representatives of the social sciences, finance, retail, publishing,
as well as in information and telecommunication technology.

The first of the three one-year phases will address a coherent
security model and a generic, open security architecture for the
electronic marketplace. This architecture will be independent of
specific hardware, software, or network architectures. The most
fundamental electronic commerce services, such as secure offering,
order, payment and information delivery, will also be integrated in
the first phase.

Subsequent phases will concentrate on more advanced services. These
will include fair exchange of documents, credentials, advanced
document processing, notary services and multimedia-specific security
services, such as protection of intellectual property
rights. Multi-party security and protection of user's privacy will
receive prime attention. SEMPER will use and integrate existing
architectures, tools, and services where appropriate.

Early trials will be provided for WWW, and subsequent tests performed
on ATM-based broadband networks to demonstrate the broad applicability
of SEMPER's architecture and services.

The SEMPER project is part of the Advanced Communication Technologies
and Services (ACTS) research program established by the European
Commission Directorate General XIII for 1994-1998. ACTS is the
follow-on program for Research on Advanced Communications in Europe
(RACE) 1987- 1994. The project will establish a Special Interest Group
for Secure Electronic Commerce (SIGSEC) which will make results
available to all interested parties, including standardisation bodies,
and will co-ordinate related projects, in particular those funded by
the European Commission.

IBM's Zurich Research Laboratory will provide the technical leadership
for the SEMPER project, and IBM France will act as co-ordinator. The
other members of the consortium are Cryptomathic (DK), DigiCash (NL),
EUROCOM EXPERTISE (GR), Europay International (B), FOGRA
Forschungsgesellschaft Druck (D), GMD - German National Research
Center for Information Technology (D), IBM European Networking Center
(D), INTRACOM (GR), KPN Research (NL), Otto-Versand (D), r3 security
engineering (CH), SEPT (F), Stichting Mathematisch Centrum / CWI (NL),
University of Freiburg (D), University of Hildesheim (D). Banksys (B),
Banque Generale du Luxembourg (L) and Telekurs (CH) are associated
with SEMPER.

For more information please contact

     Matthias Schunter                    Philippe Delaoutre
     Universitaet Hildesheim              IBM France
     Mail: [email protected]  Mail: [email protected]
     Tel. + 49 5121 883 788               Tel. + 33 1 49 05 61 12
     Fax  + 49 5121 883 732               Fax  + 33 1 47 68 40 33

or see

or   <http://www.zurich.ibm.com/Technology/Security/extern/semper/>.