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PKI and Biometrics Ready for Take-Off
By: Laura Taylor
October 4, 2000

With the signing of the electronic signature bill into law on Friday, TEC expects PKI and biometric products to gain momentum in the next 30 days. The new law, signed by President Clinton on June 30th, makes electronic signatures as legal and binding as pen-to-paper signatures. PKI stands for Public Key Infrastructure, and is a technology that is used to authenticate the origin, or owner, of a file or document through the use of both public and private keys. Biometrics is also a technology that is used to authenticate the origin, or owner, of data by using a form of personal identification such as an iris scan or fingerprint scan.

Market Impact:

TEC expects this new e-signature law to bolster both the PKI and biometric markets. This new law allows documents signed through digital signatures to have the same legal ramifications as documents signed in traditional wet-ink. Companies that formerly required wet-ink signatures such as hospitals and insurance companies, can now increase the speed at which they process transactions by implementing PKI or biometric solutions.

Figure 1. Anonymous Data Corporation (ANYD) on news of E-Signature Bill

User Recommendations:

The following companies offer either PKI or Biometric authentication products which have the capabilities of capitalizing on the new electronic signature law with their cutting-edge technologies:

PKI and Biometrics Vendors
Vendor Name PKI Vendors Biometrics Vendors
Anonymous Data Corp.
Safety Latch
PGP, Inc.
Baltimore Technologies
Marshall Software
RSA Security

In the biometric group, Identix's easy to install laptop versatile type II PCMCIA card BioTouch product is particularly interesting. The type II PCMCIA card sports an on-board fingerprint scanne that can catalog multiple fingers per user. The scanner pokes out the side of your laptop,and is a little bigger than a postage stamp. You pop out the fingerprint printer in the same way that you pop out an PCMCIA modem interface, and put your finger on the reader to authenticate. It interoperates with Identix's other products called BioLogon, BioCard, BioSafe, and BioShield. BioShield is a password bank and application locking system. BioSafe is a product which can encrypt and decrypt data through the use of the BioTouch finger print scanner. BioLogon is a package which allows you to manage fingerprint authentication for an entire enterprise with the idea that fingerprint authentication reduces password administration. People do not lose their finger prints, and no two fingerprints are alike.

The above listed PKI and Biometric vendors will be particularly interesting to follow in light of the new cyberlaw.

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