Trust Center - Certification Authority According to Signature Law
 
     
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Trust Center Certification Authority According to Electronic Signatures Acts

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If a specific public electronic key is to be identified to a specific person or institution within a Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) (see development and evaluation of Public Key Infrastructures), an independent and trustworthy third party must have approved this categorization as being reliable. Subsequently, this third party acts as a guarantor for the identity of the person in possession of the key.

This trustworthy third party is the Trust Center, which one can imagine as being an "electronic notary." After identifying a person, for example through presentation of his or her personal identification by means of a digital certificate, the Trust Center determines that a specific electronic key belongs to its owner. The certificates are held ready in a secure, ever accessible electronic directory, so that any third party can ascertain the identity and authenticity of the owner.

The certificates are created by the Trust Center with a Certificate Server, and are stored within the Directory Server. Due to security reasons, a certificate has only a restricted lifetime. When a certificate expires or is suspended, it must be withdrawn from the Directory Server and stored in a CRL (Certificate Revocation List), which is also always accessible. Using this CRL, the validity of a certificate to a specific time is always determinable.

In order to warrant the trustworthiness of the Trust Center, and, if necessary, to secure the judicial liability of digital signatures, the German Electronic Signatures Act has set strict requirements on the construction and operation of statutory certification authorities. The content interpretation of these judicial requirements, as well as their technical implementation, belong to the most challenging tasks to which the Institute for Telematics is committed.

Contact: Dr. iur. Lutz Gollan