Valicert Inc. has widened the distribution of its certificate validation technology through an international affiliate program.

The Mountain View, Calif., company said that affiliate arrangements can accelerate the spread of its Validation Authority, or VA, systems, especially in parts of the world where direct selling is less practical.

The initial affiliate program members are Frontier GlobalCenter, the California-based Internet arm of Frontier Communications; Digicert of Malaysia, the first certificate authority in one of the fastest-moving electronic commerce markets; and NTT Communications of Japan.

Valicert also announced that Thawte Certification, a South Africa-based digital certificate service provider that many companies rely on to assure interoperability, is a charter member of the affiliate program and would serve as a "real-time content provider." Thawte certificate holders would be able to be cross-validated through Valicert and its network of affiliates. Sathvik Krishnamurthy, Valicert's vice president of marketing and business development, said the affiliate approach is the third leg of a marketing strategy that began with introduction of the Validation Authority products and a service bureau operation.

He said organizations like Digicert and NTT are "natural trusted entities" capable of "establishing a trusted VA brand in their markets." The linkages are designed so that "every new entrant in the program has access to a wealth of content around the globe."

Valicert is trying to establish the VA concept alongside certificate authorities, or CAs, as essential to secure and trusted Internet commerce. The VA would be called upon to verify that a digital certificate, regardless of originating system, is not expired or revoked -- a critical operation that has challenged CA designers.

Valicert was recently selected as pilot VA supplier to Identrus, the multinational banking venture in digital certificates, which is relying on Baltimore Technologies for the root key operation.

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