[cabfpub] Bylaws: Update Membership Criteria (section 2.1)

Ryan Sleevi sleevi at google.com
Fri Feb 8 18:50:15 UTC 2019

Here's some references for some of the past discussions:

You can search for the discussion around Ballot 149, in which Kirk had
proposed changes similar to what you're doing now. There's quite a bit of
discussion on that from various bits, but I suspect
https://cabforum.org/pipermail/public/2015-May/005620.html probably
captures it. This was a continuation of a discussion from earlier - see
https://cabforum.org/pipermail/public/2015-March/005375.html - which itself
was a continuation of the discussion from Cupertino in Meeting 34 -

If there's concerns that we haven't captured those objections enough, I'm
sure we can make sure minutes going forward capture controversial topics
more thoroughly.

My search focused on discussions on our public list; searching our
governance reform list is a bit trickier, but this was something we
similarly discussed when revising the Bylaws to our current form, and the
same concerns and objections were shared in the discussion of the draft
SCWG charter. Let me know if the above isn't sufficient.

We know that there will be direct harm - by promoting more exclusion - by
requiring the SSL BRs w/ Net Sec. While it's true that ETSI has
incorporated them directly, were ETSI to provide a similar broad profile, I
suspect there would be support for *reducing* the current ETSI
requirements. Given how ETSI functions, I suspect that 'reducing' is
accomplished by adding yet another criteria, since unlike WebTrust, you
don't mix and match the same, but the end result would be to increase
opportunities for participation.

There's very little benefit to increasing membership requirements. The main
benefits seem to be logistical, rather than practical - increasing
requirements can exclude more members and thus make it cheaper or easier to
host or organize meetings. However, given the harm that can be caused by
that, it does not seem useful - members who are affected by the
requirements cannot contribute effectively to them.

Consider, for example, if the only way to contribute to the EVGLs was to
have an EVGL audit. Imagine how difficult it would be to correct any
criteria that prevented a CA from getting an EVGL audit, such as the
discussion we saw related to E&O insurance/liability limits, as raised by
our Asian CA members. Today, they could propose suggestions by virtue of
the open membership; in a world where only entities with the audits could
participate in the discussions, there would be no way to resolve that or
push for change, short of hoping someone 'takes pity' and does it

>From our perspective; the Forum's strength is not its production of
Guidelines themselves, but in providing a venue to gather feedback about
proposed changes in a way that does not create conflicting requirements
between Root Stores. The Guidelines do not and have never represented
'best' practice - just a common baseline. As we've shifted to a WG model,
that same logic extends to WGs - the greatest value in the Forum is through
having diverse views represented and gathering feedback about potentially
conflicting requirements, to try and find solutions for those conflicts.
>From our early involvement in the first governance reform - that lead to
the creation of the public lists - to our effort to provide opportunity to
gather and share public feedback via the questions@ list, we've valued
increased participation and transparency. The Validation Summit effort in
Herndon was, in many ways, a high point in the Forum's opportunity for
participation. We should be pushing for greater involvement - as we've seen
through the participation of Cisco, for example - than adding barriers that
would limit it.
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