[cabfpub] BRs, EVGLs, and "latest version"

Ryan Sleevi sleevi at google.com
Mon Oct 9 05:39:34 MST 2017

On Fri, Oct 6, 2017 at 12:07 PM, Gervase Markham via Public <
public at cabforum.org> wrote:

> During the CAB Forum face-to-face in Taipei, it was noted that the BRs
> currently state something which implies something which is not true in
> practice.


I think it's useful here to distinguish between things which are expected
and things which are audited. As has been discussed in the Forum for years,
the audit criteria naturally lag behind the adoption of the BRs - depending
on when a ballot is adopted, this can be as short as a few months, or as
long as a few years.

I can think of a number of problems your proposed language would introduce,
and on that basis, would have difficulty supporting, so it might be useful
if you could articulate the problem you are trying to solve.

For example, it seems you might be trying to solve what you view as "the
CAA problem". However, I think it's worth noting that the CAA problem was
self-inflicted - the Forum had been discussing CAA since 2012, had
specifically been concerned about potential gotchas and thus introduced the
simple mandate to require disclosing CAA practices (allowing CAs to gain
experience with CAA without any risk of BR violations, by virtue of
allowing CP/CPS flexibility), and then put a CAA requirement 6 months in
advance of the actual deadline. The issues only manifest because a
"deadline" was taken as an "implementation date" - that is, all of the
flexibility was rejected and deprioritized by CAs, and they waited until
the last minute.

However, it also seems to be operating on a misguided - and I would argue
dangerous to the ecosystem - belief that qualified audits represent a fatal
state. We know, through similar lengthy discussions in the Forum on the
nature of audits, that not every failure necessarily represents a
qualification (as it relies on the auditor's opinion as well as the nature
of the principles and criteria), but we also know that disclosure through
audit is far better for the ecosystem than relentlessly chasing a 'clean'
audit. Indeed, Mozilla's own efforts have been to underscore that point -
that a qualified audit is not fatal - so I admit, it seems somewhat
surprising to see you suggest undermining both security and the quality of
audits in pursuit of unqualified audits.

Could you elaborate on whether there are goals or context that I have
missed - and the relative value of those goals compared to the ecosystem
value? In doing so, I'd be happy to elaborate how your proposal would
result in less security and less transparency, and the ways in which it
could be gamed or unintentionally overlooked, in a way that would be
detrimental to the ecosystem.

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