Financial fraud depends heavily on perpetrators' ability to hide their identities or assume those of others. Because the Internet is a medium for anonymous communication, it has been and will continue to be a breeding ground for innovation in electronic fraud.

Proponents of electronic commerce seek to limit this risk through the use of digital certificates and similar methods of electronic authentication and verification. This raises a complex question for the trusted third parties, many of which may be banks, that certify the issuance and use of public keys in the digital signature arena: What does it mean to certify that a specific public key represents X in a world where the identification of X is an imprecise science?

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