A method of managing certificates in a communication system having a certifying authority and a directory. Preferably, the method begins by having the certifying authority generate certificates by digitally signing a given piece of data. At a later point time, the certifying authority may produce a string that proves whether a particular certificate is currently valid without also proving the validity of at least some other certificates. The technique obviates use of certification revocation lists communicated between the certifying authority and the directory.

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