Digital Diplomacy

ASEAN members sign e-commerce accord

Singapore -- November 24, 2000 -- BusinessWire  Ten member-countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) digitally signed an agreement today to harmonize e-commerce regulations and guidelines across the region.

The leaders of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam first signed the agreement on paper, as stipulated by law in some ASEAN countries. They then signed the agreement digitally to demonstrate the region's commitment to the advancement of e-commerce.

The digital signing was made possible by technology provided by Baltimore Technologies, an e-security solutions provider, and ID.Safe, the Singapore-based commercial certificate authority (CA) set up by Commercial and Industrial Security Corporation (CISCO) and the Singapore Post.

Before the ceremony ID.Safe provided all 10 heads of state a personal smart card. Each card contained a unique signing key and a digital certificate issued by ID.Safe using Baltimore's UniCERT certificate management system. To sign the document each leader inserted the smart card into a smart card reader and entered a PIN code to access the key. The digital signatures were automatically verified.

"By taking part in the digital signing, the ASEAN countries are demonstrating that they are highly responsive to the latest technology that enables safe online transactions," said Bryan O'Neill, Baltimore Technologies' vice president of sales for the Asia Pacific. Baltimore Technologies was appointed the official technology supplier for the digital signing by the heads of state.

"For e-commerce to really develop, digital signature technology needs to be widely adopted," said Lim Yong Gang, general manager for ID.Safe. "This is of paramount importance and it is very encouraging to see the ASEAN countries not only creating digital signature laws but coming together to harmonize these laws and bring down trade barriers across the region."

ASEAN created the e-ASEAN Task Force to develop a comprehensive e-commerce action plan for the region, to develop cross border e-commerce around the region, and to develop competencies that will enable the ASEAN nations to compete in the global information economy. Currently the level of maturity in e-commerce adoption varies around the region, and a key goal of the e-ASEAN committee is to help member-countries raise their e-commerce standards and harmonize electronic transaction legislation.

Baltimore Technologies develops and markets security products and services to enable companies to develop secure systems for e-business, the Internet and mobile commerce.