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Post Office ready for digital signatures

The old PO really seems to be on the ball in recent months

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The Post Office (UK) is on the verge of signing a digital signature deal - just one of a slew of Net-based plans it has thrown out recently. The deal will almost certainly be with its partner of old, VeriSign.

Digital signatures were given a legal foundation with the Electronic Communications Act earlier this year. For those of you that don't know, the "signature" can be sent along with any electronic communication and recognises the sender individually. This electronic signature is equivalent to a physical signature, with all the legal implications and responsibilities that that entails.

The obvious advantage to this is the vastly increased speed with which commerce can be done over modern communications. It is a potentially enormous market for those that get in at the ground floor and has sparked a gold rush between banks to come up with a complete system. The Post Office plans to launch its system this autumn.

What has started us thinking though is the frequency with which the Post Office has cropped up at the cutting edge of this new-fangled Internet technology. It said ages ago that it would revitalise itself by leading the digital market, but to be honest we didn't believe a word of it.

Well, the PO appears to be doing just that. We are going to check out who's behind all this - is it a visionary chief or a smart PR svengali? Makes a nice change from the two-hour Doris experience of just a year ago. ®

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