Technical Reports

The report FIMU-RS-2002-06

Trustworthiness of Signed Data

by Petr ©véda, September 2002, 13 pages.

FIMU-RS-2002-06. Available as Postscript, PDF.


Use of digital signatures is not as straightforward as one would like to see it. We have to be aware of the fact that computers sign all electronic documents on behalf of humans and only few computers can be considered as fully trustworthy. Visual representation of file formats can be dramatically changed by settings of a viewer or a text processor. Users cannot be absolutely sure that they sign only the data visible on their computer screen. Proprietary signature solutions are not fully compatible as there are no standards.

The report reviews the problem of the document content interpretation. Introductory section reviews problems related to the use of digital signatures in practice. The second section briefly summarizes necessary cryptographic assumptions and gives an overview of signature functional properties. The third section discusses questions and possible ways of an interpretation of documents content. The fourth section suggests design principles for trustworthy electronic document structure.

Responsible contact: unix(atsign)fi(dot)muni(dot)cz