[cabfpub] Ballot 122 - Verified Method of Communication

Jeremy Rowley jeremy.rowley at digicert.com
Fri May 9 16:54:24 UTC 2014

Every policy reaches a point where additional steps add complexity without providing an equivalent increase in assurance.  In my opinion, relying on a telephone number for physical existence is that point.  CAs already verify physical existence using an actual registered physical address of the applicant (PO boxes are prohibited).  The verification process is quite rigorous. Further requiring a phone number only serves to lock businesses into an increasingly archaic business structure and inhibit CA innovation.  Ultimately, this all means that replacing the telephone with  an additional certitude on physical existence is not really necessary.  

The working group discussed removing this section completely as an unnecessary additional step.  However, we ultimately still saw value in the check as a means for establishing a reliable method of communication with the subscriber.  Unfortunately, unlike most of the EV Guidelines, the telephone requirement relies on a specific form of technology, a land line.  

If the physical existence verification is still a concern for Mozilla, can you provide guidance on what you'd consider acceptable?  We really need to get something in place to account for the move away from corporate telephone numbers.


-----Original Message-----
From: Gervase Markham [mailto:gerv at mozilla.org] 
Sent: Friday, May 9, 2014 3:00 AM
To: Ryan Sleevi; jeremy rowley
Cc: ben at digicert.com; Kelvin Yiu; public at cabforum.org
Subject: Re: [cabfpub] Ballot 122 - Verified Method of Communication

On 09/05/14 02:18, Ryan Sleevi wrote:
> Considering that a significant part of the "extended" verification is 
> asserting the physical existence of the subscriber, I have to 
> respectfully disagree here.

I think this is the heart of the question of whether this change, in principle, is reasonable (that's as opposed to smaller discussions about appropriate comms methods).

In today's world, does the phone number check add significantly to the certitude the CA has about the physical existence of the subscriber at the address from the QIS? If not, then this ballot is OK. If it does, then how do we replace that additional certitude, for companies who don't have a landline? Are they inherently more fly-by-night, or do we just need to find different ways of acquiring that certitude. If we need to find those ways, let's find them and implement them in the same move as relaxing this requirement.

> What are the assurances of extended verification for relying parties 
> under this justification? What does it matter that the CA has a 
> reliable means to contact the Subscriber if the RP doesn't?

As someone else pointed out, this phone number is not put in the cert, so the RP is no worse off. Phone numbers are also reasonably ephemeral today, even land lines. A registered physical place of business seems to me to be the correct way to "nail down" a particular company.


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