[FoRK] Does the web have a public timestamper?

Gordon Mohr gojomofork at xavvy.com
Fri May 6 13:36:53 PDT 2005

"digital timestamp"

top google ad: www.digistamp.com
  "free software, $0.50 per timestamp"

Companies namesd Entrust and Surety seem to have offered such
services at one time, though their websites no longer prominently
feature anything about timestamping.

A Surety patent in the area appears to have been successfully
challenged in 1999:


- Gordon

Russell Turpin wrote:
> Long ago, I thought some site -- maybe a
> certificate source like Thawte? -- should
> provide a provable timestamping service
> over the web. The basic idea is that when
> an application wants to timestamp some
> item, such as an entry in QuickBooks or
> an executed PDF or whatever, it would
> (1) generate a signature of the item,
> using SHA1 or the favorite hash function
> du jour, (2) then post a request to the
> timestamp site with the signature,
> (3) in the hope of receiving (a) a global
> timestamp and (b) a validation signature
> of the timestamp and item signature.
> The website also would maintain a
> globally accessible log, by time, of what
> validation signatures it had generated.
> These provide independent proof if
> ever needed that the item was indeed
> timestamped -- and hence, existed --
> when claimed.
> It seems to me that this would be useful
> for a broad range of applications, from
> bookkeepping to facility monitoring. I
> can imagine all sorts of reasons for wanting
> a verified timestamp, from the legal to
> the mundane. Is anyone doing this?
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