[LINK] What's changed in PKI? [was: Electronic witnessing ...]

Roger Clarke Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au
Sat Jul 31 06:29:49 AEST 2010

At 22:56 +1000 30/7/10, Stephen Wilson wrote:
>Medicare's PKI adventure goes back a very very long time, with the good
>intention to issue digital certificates to doctors.  They built the
>Health eSignature Authority (HeSA) but they got bogged down in Project
>Gatekeeper, which in the late 1990s saw the 100 point check as the only
>true way to do PKI.  ...

Ah, history.

I was on the GPKA in 1999-2000, which created those standards.

The Committee and the NOIE staff spent a vast amount of time on 
checklists for things like the bunker that a CA should be housed in. 
And they wouldn't listen to questions about what the actual aim was, 
nor to cautionary comments about practicalities.

Late in the piece, they discovered that there was no item in the 
work-plan for a specification for RAs.  So I did a small consultancy 
for them to frame one.

They simply couldn't get the point, and the bald ones (why are 
ex-spooks always bald? oh yes, because they shave) fixated on the 
100-point check.  And the knuckleheads in Medicare sallied forth to 
impose their narrow, social-control view of the world on medical 

At that stage it was clear that the whole undertaking was a disaster 
and nothing much would ever come of it, so I stopped wasting my time.

All of the projects essentially failed, there was nothing much in the 
way of spin-offs, the credibility of the technology suffered, and 
hence the unworldliness of Canberra public servants ensured that a 
decade was lost.

It's a great relief that some sense has eventually trickled into the field.

Roger Clarke                                 http://www.rogerclarke.com/

Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd      78 Sidaway St, Chapman ACT 2611 AUSTRALIA
                    Tel: +61 2 6288 1472, and 6288 6916
mailto:Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au                http://www.xamax.com.au/

Visiting Professor in the Cyberspace Law & Policy Centre      Uni of NSW
Visiting Professor in Computer Science    Australian National University

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