Baltimore in US e-government breakthrough

13 Mar 2003

Irish e-security firm Baltimore Technologies has passed a major test process that may see its public key infrastructure (PKI) certificates implemented across major US government departments, including defence, agriculture, treasury and NASA.

It has been revealed today that the company’s UniCERT certificate authority technology for securing electronic communications was rigorously tested by the General Services Administration (GSA) for the US government’s Federal Bridge Certification Authority (FBCA). Baltimore emerged as the first PKI vendor to complete a series of tests that demonstrate interoperability with the FBCA in terms of product and the managed service.

For the first time in history, the Defence and Treasury Departments, NASA and the Agricultural Department’s National Finance Centre will accept each other’s digital certificates through the Federal Bridge, with further agencies due to participate. The Federal Bridge enables agencies to connect through a PKI that allows each agency’s electronic credentials to be accepted by other agencies.

“The GSA is committed to data integrity and to securing information through shared credentials. The certification positions Baltimore Technologies as a key security provider within the Federal Bridge infrastructure,” says Baltimore’s vice-president global operations, Denis Kelly. “This independent testing testifies to both our open standards architecture and our flexibility in being able to deliver UniCERT as either a managed service or an in-house product.”

This is not the first US government breakthrough for Baltimore Technologies. The company is responsible for providing PKI e-security to Intelink, the major classified intranet for the US intelligence community. More than 75,000 users from the FBI and CIA use the intranet to pool their intelligence resources. The site is visited more than five million times a week. As well as this, Baltimore’s PKI technology is used by the US Department of Justice to provide authentication on vital communications.

By John Kennedy