[cabfpub] FW: Associate member of the CA/B Forum

Dean Coclin Dean_Coclin at symantec.com
Sat Apr 9 21:29:18 UTC 2016


Basically because they would like to be more active in meetings and one benefit of Associate membership is the ability to attend F2F meetings.  


So can Interested Parties


>>Yes, by invitation only. As I read the bylaws, AMs can come w/o invitation.

As a representative of 5000 members, ETA can better communicate things they learn from the forum and our meetings to a wide audience of theirs. Traditionally, associations have been granted Associate member status, rather than Interested Party.


So that seems to be two arguments:

- So they can talk to members

- Because it's what we did in the past


The first can be accomplished by Interested Parties, and the Second is... more complicated.


The notion of Associate Members is actually relatively new - they were introduced in Bylaws v1.1, rather than the original version. Contributions, such as PayPal's, which arguably occupies a similar niche as ETA, were under the Interested Party contribution. The introduction of the notion in v1.1 (via Ballot 116 - https://cabforum.org/2014/03/24/ballot-116-bylaw-amendment-for-associate-member-category/ ) was to align our practices and inconsistencies with following our bylaws, but I don't know if we can argue they were associate members.


Given that https://cabforum.org/liaisons/ is now, seemingly, considerably out of date due to non-renewal of the IPR policy, I don't know how much we can argue on that basis either. In terms of membership tracking, unfortunately, the Wiki is not very helpful in determining who, of the parties that have executed IPR agreements (and are thus members in good standing) are Interested Parties vs Associate Members, but it seems that there are entities comparable to ETA that are as Interested Parties.


I would also note that the Associate Member status seems to have been granted to the SDOs directly involved in the Web PKI operations - that is, WebTrust and ETSI stand out as participants. To what degree ETA is an SDO is unclear to me; my understanding is they are merely a trade association, and not responsible for the standards themselves (compared to, say, the PCI SSC)


While I fully welcome greater participation in the Forum, and that's a topic that we've advocated for rather hard in the past, my feeling and suspicion is that many potential members needs will be met as an Interested Party. A concern, of course, has been raised by many CAs in the past, which is that the larger the F2F meetings get, the less likely we'll be able to accomplish anything productive, and the more expensive it will be to host. However, my concern is that the F2F's are notoriously "smoke-filled rooms", in that minutes fail to capture the many nuances of discussions, due to their subtleties, and thus provide much less transparency or accountability to discussions on the list.


That's why I favor greater Interested Party participation, because it encourages greater participation on the list, and greater transparency of what was said and why decisions were made.


While I'm uncertain as to whether "oppose" the application would be the right position I'm advocating, I would like to strongly encourage an Interested Party membership, which should confer almost all of the benefits - except for that of secrecy (the ability to post on the management list, and the ability to routinely hold discussions that aren't well or completely minuted during the F2F). That seems certainly in everyone's best interests.


>>I’m hearing two points here: One is that as part of the Governance Change WG, we should re-look at the categories of IPs and AMs and determine if there is a meaningful distinction. That can certainly be done.

The other subtle point is that the F2F meetings are not valuable, not transparent enough and should be discontinued. I think you’ll find some arguments there from members but again, can be tackled by the WG to determine if the frequency of meetings is too much, too little or just right and if minute taking should be recorded or changed to another format.


Back to the issue of ETA, I’ll put this on the agenda for next week’s call and would be interested in hearing from others either on the list or the call.




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