As more and more of the world’s data is created, stored, and manipulated online, it is sometimes crucial to verify when a digital document or record was created or last modified. Ideally, any time-stamping procedures to do this should depend only on the data in the document in question, and should not be susceptible to tampering – either with the data, or with the time and date.
To be precise, and to fix our vocabulary, a time-stamping system consists of two procedures: a certification procedure, which produces for any digital record a time-stamp certificate attesting to the time of certification; and a validation procedure, which checks whether or not a given record–certificate pair is valid. Naturally, the aim is to ensure that the only pairs that will pass the validation test are those consisting of a record and a correctly computed time-stamp certificate for that record.
In many situations, a time-stamp certificate for a document will be more important as an...
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