Little and large get together (May 1997)

In a strange marriage a giant (Schlumberger) has teamed up with a freeware derived minnow (Pretty Good Privacy, Inc.) – why?

Public key cryptography, where the time consuming factoring of extremely large prime numbers is used as a tool for highly secure communications and commercial transactions is a widely publicised and public tool. In many countries it contravenes defence secrecy legislation (strong cryptography is considered as either a state secret, or equated to a "weapon"). But it is a key element in turning the Internet into a secure environment and allowing both secure net commerce and secure Intranets. Pretty Good Privacy, Inc. , described as the world's leading provider of digital-privacy software, and Schlumberger Electronic Transactions, the leading supplier of smart cards and systems, have announced a strategic alliance agreement for development and marketing of integrated network security products. The companies will develop and market products that integrate PGP's powerful and trusted encryption technology with cryptographic smart cards from Schlumberger. The combined products will provide the highest levels of communications security across corporate intranets and the global Internet, coupled with the convenience of a smart card.


Schlumberger's CryptoflexTM smart card, announced late last fall, will be used in the product offering. A smart card, which is a small plastic card the size of a credit card and embedded with an integrated circuit chip, stores information and can be used for such applications as network security, mobile telephone communications, electronic banking, retail shopping and much more. The Cryptoflex card is a specialized version that supports cryptographic functions, such as key and digital certificate storage and digital signatures, all of which can be used to secure electronic mail and other communications.

Pretty good..

Pretty Good Privacy's encryption software is now used by millions of individuals and has become the de facto standard for private digital communications. The company released its first commercial product, PGPmail 4.5, in February, 1997, and has since released products for disk encryption, Internet phone encryption and a Web-based privacy product that filters "cookie" files. "Schlumberger's products give users of PGP encryption the portability and convenience of smart card technology," said Tom Steding, President and Chief Executive Officer of Pretty Good Privacy. "Now you can carry your PGP keys as easily as you carry your credit cards." "No longer do people have to choose between security and convenience," said James J. Davis, vice president and general manager of Schlumberger Smart Cards and Systems, North America. "PGP's trusted encryption technology is a perfect complement to the convenience of our new Cryptoflex smart card. The combination of public key encryption and smart card technology provides the strongest and most convenient security and digital authentication available."


PGP's trusted encryption technology brings the highest levels of security to digital communications. Without the use of encryption technology, digital information is vulnerable to break-in or interception. Encryption technology "scrambles" data, and ensures that information can only be accessed by the intended recipient. Stored on a smart card, keys are secure because smart cards have built-in security features and are tamper-resistant. In addition, the keys can be carried in the wallet or purse of the user.

The alliance will enable Pretty Good Privacy and Schlumberger to work more closely on the seamless integration of encryption technology into smart cards, so that the data encryption and decryption process will be transparent to the user and simple to use. The agreement will also permit sharing of certain technical information, as well as consulting, joint marketing and promotional activities.

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