Verisign Inc. said it joined with the smart card maker Gemplus and two other French companies to form a national certificate authority for France.
The entity, Certplus, would combine data encryption, smart cards, telecommunications, and system integration services to ensure secure electronic commerce among French businesses, consumers, and government agencies.
Certplus-its other owners are France Telecom and Groupe Lagardere (Matra Hautes Technologies)-would be part of the global Verisign Trust Network that the California-based digital signature vendor is assembling. Its certificates are available for corporate intranets, extranets, and Internet commerce, and can work with standard protocols including Secure Sockets Layer and Secure Electronic Transaction.
Jacques Pantin, chief executive officer of Certplus, said its creation is "a major milestone for European businesses and consumers as they take advantage of the Internet for secure commerce and communications."