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The Met, the largest police force in the UK, will use Baltimore Technologies' Unicert public key infrastructure (PKI) system to secure and authenticate the 50,000 members of the force, to ensure that only trusted users have access to information on police databases. It will be used alongside existing security systems.
The initial application is being rolled out to 3,000 users who will all be issued with digital certificates on smartcards. They will be able to access the application remotely over a virtual private network.
Baltimore expects that future applications such as secure e-mail and other database applications will be rolled out to the entire force.
PKI is a set of tools that secure a network by providing each user with a digital identity, through a smartcard, which is authenticated by a central digital certificate authority. Research group Datamonitor this week predicted that global investment in PKI products and services will grow from £300m in last year to £2.35bn in 2006.
"Digital certificates give our members the confidence and security necessary to enable secure access to vital information," said Royston Barker, head of the Met's infrastructure programme.
"They help to ensure that transaction information remains secure and confidential and that only authorised parties can access specific databases," he added.