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Macedonia, Blacklists, and the Security Solution

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Macedonia, Blacklists, and the Security Solution

The Financial Times has a powerful article (4th December 2006) on Macedonia and its struggle to escape the shackles of a reputation for internet abuses. As Stephen Pritchard says in his introduction:

With just over 2m inhabitants and independent only since 1991, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia is one of Europe 's younger and smaller states.

But the country has ambition enough. The European Union granted it EU candidate status in December 2005. Business leaders in the country want to boost economic, and especially, export performance. Macedonia 's main industries include wine, cheese, textile production and tourism.

The Macedonian challenge is that it is a nation where education is strong, engineering and technology are valued and contribute to the economy strongly, and IT is essential. Being hamstrung by a bad reputation meant that Macedonian users were unable to indulge in eCommerce, could make no credit card payments online. They couldn't use eBay, PayPal, or any of the services we all take for granted.

Macedonia was simply blacklisted. Unofficially blacklisted, maybe, but a blacklist is a blacklist. That it was an unfair situation was irrelevant to getting blacklists lifted, because unofficial blacklists tend to have no removal or appeal process.

We've commented previously on the situation in Macedonia quoting Computer Weekly's article:

Two-factor technology opens new e-markets

UK businesses should soon be able to conduct trade electronically with their counterparts in Macedonia and with other states that have until now been deemed too great an e-commerce risk, thanks to an initiative between security techology firm VeriSign and the US Agency for International Development.

Banks in Macedonia, part of the former Yugoslavia, are poised to issue their customers with two-factor authentication devices to turn around the country's reputation as a risky trading partner for e-commerce.

Until now, the country has in effect been blacklisted by major e-commerce sites such as eBay and PayPal, stifling the ability of Macedonian firms to trade online.

The US Agency for International Development has partnered with VeriSign to provide Macedonia 's banks with the smart tokens that will allow the country's citizens and businesses to trade securely online.

The FT article is available in full from Gabriel Swift at VeriSign. Click here to send him an email requesting your own copy


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