Being able to trust secure digital infrastructures requires the long-term verifiability of digital certificates. To ensure this is the case, on 14.11.19, the Federal Network Agency published its Permanent Directory for Electronic trust services” (in German, Dauerhaftes Verzeichnis für elektronische Vertrauensdienste), in short: DA:VE. This represents an important step in terms of digital trust.

 

What problem does DA:VE solve?

Whether it is electronic signatures, seals or time stamps – all these elements of the trust services are generally based on digital certificates. Among others, they are issued by providers of trust services or Certificate Authorities (CAs). This gives rise to the following problem:

  • Trust service providers and/or CAs stop providing their services

The result: Once a trust service provider has vanished from the scene and no longer provides its trust services, the validity of the qualified electronic signature, stamp or seal generated from a digital certificate can no longer be validated. This also means that it is no longer possible to verify documents that have been signed with a qualified digital signature, for example. For digital business processes, of course, this constitutes an obstacle, especially if the long-term verifiability of digital certificates is to be ensured.

DA:VE – the way out

Since 14.11.2019, the Federal Network Agency has been operating a service called DA:VE – permanent directory, or a trust anchor. This is precisely where the acquired certificate is saved. The permanent directory is operated by the Federal Network Agency.

This directory focuses on the long-term verifiability of the aforementioned trust services. With the trust anchor DA:VE, the Federal Network Agency is now providing a decisive building block to ensure the reliability of qualified German trust services. As a result of this, DA:VE helps to strengthen the long-term reliability of German qualified trust services and guaranteeing security for the business processes on which they are based.

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Thorsten Schmidt

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