In its second-largest acquisition, Amazon buys the company for $970 million.
A group of major technology companies has announced its support and plans to develop the Account Authority Digital Signature and proposed Accredited Standards Committee X9 digital payments standard. (www.firstdatacorp.com) First Data Corp., (www.compaq.com) Compaq Computer Corp., (www.tsainc.com) Transaction Systems Architects Corp., (www.certicom.com) Certicom, (www.interworld.com) InterWorld Corp. and (www.cybersafe.com) CyberSafe Corp., made the announcement at the (www.bai.org) Bank Administration Institute's Retail Delivery 1999 Conference in Miami. These firms are developing solutions for a secure digital payments infrastructure based on AADS, to a smart card and PIN that, when combined, provide a secure "digital signature" for Web or POS purchases. The PIN activates the signing key in the smart card to give each transaction a unique digital signature. Once initiated, the secure transaction is authenticated as being uniquely associated with the buyer and is securely transferred through the authentication process. This digital signature system provides the purchaser with a greater degree of security and privacy than traditional systems, the companies say, while simultaneously providing the merchant with greatly reduced chargeback and transaction repudiation. With AADS, the card issuer, which has the existing consumer relationship, handles both the authentication and the transaction authorization. By eliminating the need for third-party authorization, the likelihood of theft of credit card content and information, including numbers on the Internet, is reduced. The AADS solution applies equally to credit card or debit card processing. First Data, Atlanta, intends to support its customers by providing AADS-enabled transaction processing services and smart cards; TSA intends to support AADS in software and services based on its BASE24, i24 and e24 product lines, with particular focus on implementing a "PIN Debit on the Internet" capability; Certicom intends to provide the elliptical curve encryption technology for smart card and authentication engines; Compaq currently ships certain components of the Compaq desktop, server, and laptop product lines enabled for reading/signing AADS smart cards, and it also provides the Compaq NonStop Himalaya S-series product line that supports TSA BASE24 software product offerings; InterWorld intends to offer digital signature support as part of its Enterprise Commerce solution; and CyberSafe, Issaquah, Wash., will enable security for AADS by providing e-commerce application developers a software development kit and other security infrastructure products and services.