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Network payment mechanisms and digital cash | Supporting the digital-information economy | Vendors propose most of the solutions | Web sites dedicated to E-Commerce | SET (secure electronic transactions) | Japanese secure transaction protocol | Smart card technology

Electronic commerce (E-commerce) is the combination of networked applications and commerce and will provide the bedrock of the emerging Information Society. It will provide the information technology infrastructure to support future business processes and the exchange of goods and services.

Network payment mechanisms and digital cash

This section concentrates on networked payment mechanisms required whilst the associated areas of:

are covered on separate topic pages.

Supporting the digital-information economy

The Internet Information Payments Collaborative (IIPC), is a US-based project pioneering a public-private effort to build a coalition around new ways to finance digital delivery of information. The stated challenge being addressed by the project is: "as competition for advertising money intensifies, a key issue facing web authors and publishers is how to finance the digital presentation of content, including words, sounds and pictures. Meanwhile, consumers are looking for a simplified method to find and pay for information no matter where it's located".

The project is hoping to achieve "consensus on an infrastructure for Internet information payments which is easy to use, allows sharing of users and content, maintains ownership of user bases for publishers, and is capable of supporting multi-media copyright-protection mechanisms".

URL: http://www.iipc.net/
URL: conference http://www.iipc.net/conference/

Vendors propose most of the solutions

The appropriate solution will be provided by some form of networked payment mechanism, possibly allied to digital cash payment system. There are a number of approaches being offered through a number of different vendors and consortia. These payment mechanisms are in turn supported by users and also vendors of E-Commerce systems.

The links to vendor pages listed in the product information section provides good links to further information on network payment mechanisms and digital cash, secure online commerce and "cyber-banking" with a more commercial bias.

Web sites dedicated to E-Commerce

Michael Pierce's web pages on Network payment mechanisms and digital cash provide an excellent starting point to the subject. The site includes:

URL: http://ganges.cs.tcd.ie/mepeirce/project.html
URL: further resources http://www.ex.ac.uk/~RDavies/arian/emoney.html

The Financial Issues Working Group (FIWG), set up by The European Commission's DG III, aims to "stimulate the development and deployment of innovative payment systems and transaction mechanisms within the EU". The website also provides a number of additional resources.

Security in Computer Networks (SIRENE) is a group of researchers from different organizations with an interest in security and privacy, in particular multi-party (also called multi-lateral) security. They maintain a list of resources on payment systems, e-commerce, and security.

URL: http://www.semper.org/sirene/index.html
URL: resources http://www.semper.org/sirene/outsideworld/ecommerce.html

General resources

SET (secure electronic transactions)

A major step forward in the deployment of secure electronic commerce is the emergence of standards supported by Visa / Mastercard and other credit card companies. Specifications for SET (secure electronic transactions) and EMV (Europay Mastercard Visa chip card worldwide transactions) are available on the Mastercard web site. In addition the details on the SET standards (extensions built upon the X.509 standard) are available at the Visa web site.

URL: SET http://www.mastercard.com/set/set.html
URL: EMV http://www.mastercard.com/emv
URL: Visa http://www.visa.com

Japanese secure transaction protocol

The Japanese Secure Electronic Commerce Environment (SECE) Study Group has published its Banking Transaction Protocol V1.0 aimed at secure e-commerce and credit card transactions over the Internet.

A common platform for electronic commerce (EC) is being jointly developed by Fujitsu, Hitachi, and NEC taking into account Japanese banking practices and using SET (Secure Electronic Transaction) technologies.

The protocol is believed to be the cornerstone of a secure global electronic commerce system being developed in Japan. Its main features and functions include:

URL: Fujitsuhttp://www.fujitsu.co.jp/index-e.html
URL: Hitachi http://www.hitachi.co.jp/
URL: NEC http://www.nec-global.com/

Market information about electronic commerce and secure financial transactions in the US can be found on the RAM Research web site.

URL: http://www.ramresearch.com/

Smart card technology

A number of companies from the US, Europe, Japan and Australasia, led by Mondex International, plan to introduce MULTOS - an operating system for smartcards. The companies including: Mastercard International (representing over 23,000 members and over 400 million cardholders), Dai Nippon Printing, Gemplus, Hitachi, Keycorp, Mondex International, and Motorola will form a consortium - called MAOSCO - to drive the adoption of MULTOS as an industry standard and to manage its on-going development.

URL: http://www.MULTOS.com

Smartcard interoperability

The Smart Card Forum and the Global Chipcard Alliance are to work together on the interoperability of different Smart Card implementations.

The Smart Card Forum, established in 1993, is a multi-industry, non profit organisation of approximately 200 members with the aim of accelerating widespread acceptance of multiple application smart card technology by bringing together, in an open forum, leading users and technologists from both the public and private sectors.

The Global Chipcard Alliance, established in 1996 with 26 member companies aims to create an environment which accelerates the development of multi-functional smart/chip technology and related applications through business alliances.

In the meantime, OpenCard is a standard framework announced by IBM, Netscape, NCI, and Sun which which is aiming to: "provide inter-operable smart cards solutions across many hardware and software platforms". The OpenCard Framework suggested by the group provides an architecture and a set of APIs that enable application developers and service providers to build and deploy smart card aware solutions in any OpenCard-compliant environment.

URL: Smart Card Forum http://www.smartcardforum.org
URL: Global Chipcard Alliance http://www.chipcard.org
URL: OpenCard http://www.opencard.org/

General smartcard resources

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Last up-dated: 16 February 2024

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