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1.5 Book Road Map

This book is structured with the following chapters:

  • Chapter 2-The Internet: For the uninitiated, this chapter introduces various fundamental concepts and terminology relating to computer networking and, in particular, the Internet. The primary Internet applications and main roles in the Internet community are introduced. E-commerce transactions and their use of the Internet are discussed, together with some examples.

  • Chapter 3-Business and Legal Principles: This chapter explains the general business and legal concepts that relate to this field and proposes business-legal models that may be considered to underlie e-commerce. Particular attention is given to the enforceability and provability of digital commerce transactions. Efforts to address uncertainties in the current legal context of e-commerce are discussed.

  • Chapter 4-Information Security Technologies: Primarily for the benefit of the reader without a background in information security, this chapter presents an overview of information security principles and explains the main technological concepts and terms used later in the book. Topics covered include cryptography, digital signatures, cryptographic key management, and authentication techniques.

  • Chapter 5-Internet Security: This chapter addresses how to take advantage of the Internet's capabilities without exposing oneself to unacceptable risks. Coverage includes technology such as firewalls, virtual private networks, Internet mail security, and World Wide Web security.

  • Chapter 6-Certificates: This chapter describes the role of public-key certificates and the entities that issue such certificates. Standard certificate formats are described, and general procedures for key and certificate management, including certificate revocation, are outlined.

  • Chapter 7-Public-Key Infrastructure: This chapter discusses several issues associated with building public-key infrastructures (PKIs) capable of supporting very large user populations. Topics addressed include ways to structure relationships between multiple certification authorities, ways to associate different certification policies and practices with different certification paths, and certificate management protocols used in interfacing application products to a supporting PKI.

  • Chapter 8-Legislation, Regulation, and Guidelines: This chapter discusses recent efforts to reduce legal uncertainties-including U.S. and other national laws, international conventions, guidelines, and model agreements and provisions-that affect computer-based commerce generally or digital signatures and PKI in particular.

  • Chapter 9-Non-repudiation: This chapter discusses the concept of non-repudiation, including several of the finer points of the non-repudiation problem. It describes procedures and protocols for supporting non-repudiation characteristics. The role of trusted third-party services, including time-stamping and notary services, is also described.

  • Chapter 10-Certification Policy and Practices: This chapter provides guidance on the development of certificate policies and certification practice statements to support secure e-commerce infrastructures. Topics addressed include responsibilities of the parties concerned, legal safeguards, operational procedures, personnel controls, audits, and general security measures.

  • Chapter 11-Public-Key Infrastructure Assessment and Accreditation: This chapter describes requirements and processes for ensuring that certification authorities meet requisite criteria for trustworthiness and interoperation.

    Ancillary information is provided in the appendixes.


    1. Traditionally, "consumers" are often defined as those who purchase goods or services for personal, family, or household purposes, and thus many consumer protection rules are intended to protect the consumer as the buyer. Paradoxically, e-commerce may render such rules ineffective for many related transactions. For example, eBay <http://www.ebay.com> and other e-auction sites service a disproportionate number of individual "consumers" as sellers rather than buyers. And yet, each eBay Web page states that the "seller assumes all responsibility for listing this item."

    2. Nevertheless, some people continue to postulate such equivalents in the hope of one day discovering the elusive link.

    3. This point was noted by Christopher Millard, a U.K. computer law expert.

    4. Electronic data interchange-this term is generally associated with the pre-Internet form of business-to-business e-commerce.

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