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17 October 2006, 21:01

W3C initiative for displaying the trustworthiness of websites

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This coming Tuesday, the standards organisation, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is to start an initiative aimed at achieving an improved, more understandable presentation of the trustworthiness of websites in web browsers. The Web Security Context Working Group initiative will, according to the W3C, carry forward the work of a workshop on usability and transparency of web authentification in collaboration with Google, HP, IBM, KDE, Microsoft, Mozilla, Nokia, Opera, Sun Microsystems, VeriSign, Yahoo and other organisations.

The initiative is to propose standards to make it easier for users to assess the trustworthiness of websites. Users are to be provided with basic information, to be determined by the initiative, on the security context of a webpage in their browser. The committee also intends to produce proposals for the way this information will be presented.

Because the Web Security Context Working Group is still in the process of being formed, there is likely to be some delay before the group produces any implementable results. It also remains to be seen whether the standards to be developed will succeed in getting around the increasing problem of phishing and in general restoring trust in the web.

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