[cabfpub] For Discussion: S/MIME Working Group Charter

Ryan Sleevi sleevi at google.com
Thu May 17 19:18:29 MST 2018

On Thu, May 17, 2018 at 9:53 PM, Phillip <philliph at comodo.com> wrote:

> We seem to have a terminology issue here. What is a server? This is
> obvious in HTTP but far from obvious in the context of email because there
> is an inbound and an outbound ‘server’ and it acts as a client and a server
> at different times.

I'm afraid that discussion misses an important word in the discussion -
server *certificate*. That word helps us clarify that we're speaking about
certificates and their capabilities, not about the different flows in
different protocols. If I use an id-kp-serverAuth certificate with a SAN of
"www.google.com", this does not somehow mean I exempt from the BRs or the
existing scope of the server certificate working group.

So I think we can avoid such discussions about the terminology of servers,
and instead focus on the certificates and the existing charted working
group, which handles such certificates, regardless of the service context
or the role within the protocol.

> I agree that certificates used to authenticate Mail Transport Agents are
> properly part of what the Server WG is specifying. But they may be used by
> a host acting as a TLS ‘server’ or ‘client’.
> Another little oddity is that we are assuming that the entity a CA
> validates and issues certificates to in the S/MIME world is properly the
> end user rather than the organization. That might not be the right
> approach. If what the CA is effectively validating is ‘example.com’, and
> not ‘alice@’, maybe it is better to perform validation on the
> organization.

I think that's something that could be discussed by the S/MIME WG - with a
refined charter scoped to S/MIME BRs. That discussion does not seem to
conflict with such a charter scoped simply to the BRs, as what you're
discussing is validation methods, which would be rather premature to
discuss in the absence of such a chartered group.
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