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Secure Electronic Marketplace for Europe


SEMPER is developing a generic architecture for secure electronic commerce over networks, in particular the Internet. This includes a design and a Java-based prototype implementation of a security toolkit for electronic commerce.
The toolkit offers all necessary security services, based on the concept of "service managers" that provide a generic service interface to "service modules", in charge of providing the required service. New modules, corresponding to specific service implementations and products, can easily be integrated.
The initial version of the toolkit is based on existing modules, like the payment modules "ecash" and "SET". For its enhanced version, new protocols and modules will be developed and integrated where necessary.
Key objectives are:
detailed description of legal, commercial, social, and technical requirements and options for an electronic marketplace.
a coherent model and a generic, open architecture of an electronic marketplace, independent of specific hardware, software, and network architectures.
specifications, designs, prototype implementations and evaluations for services enabling electronic commerce.
information to the technical, scientific and general public, standardisation, and other ACTS projects.

The Electronic Marketplace
SEMPER has published its survey findings on business, legal, and technical requirements.
SEMPER foremost result is its model and its generic and open security architecture for the electronic marketplace.
SEMPER architecture is independent of specific hardware and software platforms and of network architectures. The most fundamental electronic commerce services, such as secure offering, order, payment and information delivery, have been developed and integrated.
SEMPER first trial is ready to start.
The early results of SEMPER were presented at a public workshop in October 1996, in relation to the Public Key Solutions '96 conference in Zurich.
More information on SEMPER is available on the World Wide Web, at:
Expected Impact
SEMPER aims at a global electronic marketplace that is open to any citizen, whether customer or provider of consumer services.
In this context, SEMPER has published its open architecture, all specifications and designs available to-date. The project will continue to publish its results as they become available. SEMPER disseminates its results through demonstrations and participation in international conferences. It contributes to the process of standardisation of open systems.
Within the consortium, the results of SEMPER will be exploited by many of the partners in related commercial development projects.
Technical Approach
SEMPER is developed by an interdisciplinary consortium, combining experts from social sciences, finance, retail, publishing, IT, and telecommunications.
Non-technical requirements on SEMPER are based on both the existing expertise within the consortium, and the expert surveys performed in Europe.
The development work and trials are structured into two phases: phase I, for establishing the initial architecture and basic security services; phase II, for the extension of the architecture with enhanced services.
SEMPER uses and integrates existing architectures, tools, and services where appropriate: security toolkits developed by Cryptomathic, public key infrastructure supported by GMD, payment toolkits developed by DigiCash to support cash-like payments (ecash), by IBM to support credit-card payments (SET protocol).
Early 1997, the project will conduct its first trial, demonstrating basic security services for electronic commerce. It will evaluate the architecture and analyse consumer response.
On this basis, the second phase will start and address architectural extensions and the development of more elaborated security services, in particular:
Notary services designed to achieve fair exchange of information among business partners. Application examples include contract signing, certified mail, etc.
Certificates of different kinds providing different levels of liability.
New payment instruments, including purses, cheques, and funds transfer.
Services designed to support multi-party security, privacy protection, and resolution of disputes.
Secure channels for the transmission of continous streams.
In addition, the project will address some of the legal issues, in particular it will develop a legal framework permitting simplification of the contractual relationships among the actors of the marketplace.
Through cooperation with projects and organisations in Europe and in the USA, SEMPER will perform further security work with respect to brokerage, public key infra-structure, IPR protection, and mobility.
Development is driven by market requirements and the state of the art in security and on-line information services. Requirements for multi-party security and the protection of the users' privacy receive prime attention.
Summary of Trial
The SEMPER Trial enhances the existing service offerings of Otto-Versand (catalogue retailing), FOGRA (consulting), EUROCOM (multi-media courses), and REGIONLINK hosting a series of small and medium-size enterprises from various sectors of activity.
Based on the SEMPER architecture, a prototype toolkit is being designed and implemented which allows these services to be used and provided securely.
The trial is primarily based on the Web environment. It may be extended to ATM-based broadband networks.
The first trial permits the evaluation of the SEMPER architecture and the consumer response. It will form the basis for subsequent improvements and extensions. This first trial is primarily a technology trial, while subsequent trials will be open.
Key Issues
Networked information systems are experiencing a tremendous growth in terms of users and traffic as well as publicity. The foremost application, the Internet-based World Wide Web (WWW), is still dominated by free-of-charge information systems, but this is expected to change dramatically in the near future. The Web will be used for all sorts of electronic commerce and trade, prefiguring the daily routine on the Information Super-highways of tomorrow's Information Society. Numerous projects and services aim at electronic commerce via Internet. Many are US-based. Most of them aim at closed solutions and concentrate on electronic payments only. None of them aims at the complete problem posed by a secure electronic marketplace. Neither provides a coherent model or a comprehensive security architecture.
SEMPER aims at providing an open, coherent and comprehensive approach for building the global secure electronic marketplace. This is done by defining a generic architecture that allows for specific configurations (e.g., some modules might not be required by some users, or might not be permitted in some countries) and ensures interoperability of different modules as far as possible.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts


Centre d'Etudes et Recherches IBM France
La Gaude

Participants (19)

Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
79098 Freiburg
Centrum voor Wiskunde en Informatica (CWI)
Europay International
FOGRA Forschungsgesellschaft Druck e.V
France Télécom
38-40 Rue Du Général Leclerc
92131 Issy-les-moulineaux
GMD Forschungszentrum Informationstechnik GmbH
IBM Zurich Research Laboratory
KPN Research Netherlands
Wandsbeker Strasse 3-7
22172 Hamburg
R3 security engineering ag
Sintef Telecom
System Synthesis Limited
United Kingdom