Trusted? Third? Parties
To ensure certainty in e-Commerce, a Trusted Third Party can be used to issue certificates, which act as an electronic equivalent to a witness acknowledging and authenticating the identity of the contracting party. The trusted third party issues the certificate which correlates the contracting party to a unique public key, which in turn is used in creating the digital signature. However, the European legislation, in particular, Directive 1999/93/EC on a Community framework for electronic signatures fails to ensure that the certificate is issued by a third party. Therefore a party can act as both a contracting party and a certificate issuer. This causes a conflict of interest, should a dispute arise, as authentication has not been performed by a party independent to those contracting.