[cabfpub] Creation of S/MIME Certificates Working Group

Ryan Sleevi sleevi at google.com
Fri Mar 13 09:21:43 MST 2020

Thanks Clint.

We still have a number of concerns, many of which have been captured in the
minutes and, in past meetings, received commitment from DigiCert that these
would be addressed.

To avoid circulating a bunch of Word docs around, it seems like a
reasonable next step would the conversion to Markdown and having inline

Thematically, these elements include:
1) If natural or legal identity is included in scope, it's clearly
indicated that work on such efforts will not begin until the successful
adoption of standard controls on domain / email validation. For example,
this was discussed at Thessaloniki and proposed by DigiCert -
an alternative to the previous path that DigiCert had agreed to in
Cupertino .
  - The solution for this needs to be a clear articulation of the priority
of activities, and a commitment in charter that the identity work does not
begin unless and until a common baseline has been delivered for
email/domain validation
2) The removal of the government equivalent audit was something discussed
in Cupertino -
as being intentional to prevent unnecessary exclusion. For example, see the
discussion regarding the US Federal PKI's approach
  - It looks like there was some concern about why this bullet existed, and
its removal might have just been due to lack of context with the past
3) The transition from "updates" to "support" misses much of the intent
with Ballot 205 -

  - It introduces a new issue, regarding "end of life", which potentially
allows one to declare an "end of life" in 2038, and then ceases all
maintenance, while qualifying "support" as providing online documentation
  - Given that this document strives to be a living document of best
practices, the intent in Ballot 205 and with the original (now stricken)
language was to ensure that participants were invested in the success of
the ecosystem. I'm not sure this proposed change adequately encourages this?
  - To be fair, this is somewhat mooted by the fact that if the Forum fails
to be a useful venue for discussion, Root Programs can and will make and
discuss changes through their existing Root Program policies, so it may be
that this is perfectly fine, but just sets up that probability even greater
4) The use of "publicly trusted root" and "publicly trusted" certificate
are ill-defined
  - We know and have seen repeatedly the concerns and confusion this causes
in the SCWG
  - Any attempt to tie this back to Certificate Consumer is just going to
create a circular dependency
  - The SMCWG's scope is to create a common set of minimum guidelines which
can be used by Certificate Consumers in evaluating Certificate Issuers,
such as by Certificate Issuers incorporating these guidelines into their
CP/CPS and through the use of audits which derive auditable criteria that
evaluate against such guidelines

These are just a small sampling of some of the issues we've discussed in
the past. I appreciate the energy towards getting this out, and I'm glad to
see that progress is being made in actually updating these to reflect
discussions, but despite the amount of time that's passed since we first
began discussing, there are still many core, systemic issues to work
through, and still ample feedback that has been provided in good faith that
has been committed to be integrated, but not yet integrated. I don't mean
that as a criticism for Apple's many welcome improvements, merely that we
should continue with this enthusiasm to update, while making sure we're not
overlooking things.

On Thu, Mar 12, 2020 at 11:07 AM Clint Wilson <clintw at apple.com> wrote:

> Sure thing, here’s a Word formatted version :)
> On Mar 12, 2020, at 8:05 AM, Ryan Sleevi <sleevi at google.com> wrote:
> Hey Clint,
> Is it possible to convert that file to a standard format? I'm having
> trouble opening it
> On Wed, Mar 11, 2020 at 10:30 PM Clint Wilson <clintw at apple.com> wrote:
>> Hello all,
>> I’ve attached below an updated draft charter which addresses the concerns
>> I raised previously, especially with regards to section 4.2.3. There are
>> additionally changes seeking to address Tim and Ryan’s comments/responses
>> below and a few minor updates that seemed warranted as I went through
>> another comprehensive review of the document. For each area changed, there
>> is a corresponding comment; if anything is unclear, please let me know and
>> I’d be happy to address.
>> Thank you for your patience and understanding in getting this back to the
>> group. Have a great evening!
>> -Clint
>> On Feb 18, 2020, at 1:57 PM, Ryan Sleevi via Public <public at cabforum.org>
>> wrote:
>> On Tue, Feb 18, 2020 at 1:57 PM Tim Hollebeek via Public <
>> public at cabforum.org> wrote:
>>>    - Automatic cessation of membership
>>>    - The balloted wording around software update cadences introduces
>>>       some precision/definition issues that would likely prove troublesome in and
>>>       of themselves.
>>>       - While some of those issues could be addressed through
>>>       wordsmithing, the entire precept that membership may be automatically
>>>       removed based on various conditions (both for Certificate Consumers
>>>       *and* Issuers) is itself problematic and I think an area rife for
>>>       improvement (both here and in other charters).
>>> REJECT: The language is consistent with the language in the other
>>> working group charters.  Introducing new inconsistencies in this charter
>>> would be confusing for all involved.  If Apple believes these provisions
>>> are problematic, potential improvements should be discussed an applied
>>> across all chartered working groups.
>> I'm not quite sure I understand this rationale, could you explain more.
>> Why does this charter need to follow the SCWG/CSWG charter? Who is "all
>> involved" that would be confused?
>> It seems very valuable to learn from mistakes and concerns and address
>> them, but perhaps I'm overlooking something?
>>>    - Invalid membership requirements/processes
>>>    - I think Ryan Sleevi has explained most of this better than I
>>>       could, so I’ll refer to his message instead:
>>>       https://cabforum.org/pipermail/public/2020-February/014874.html.
>>>       - I looked, but failed to find information as to how mail
>>>       transfer agents consume S/MIME certificates. However, since it’s included
>>>       in the ballot I can only conclude that the proposer has relevant and
>>>       detailed insight into how and why this is a valid categorization for
>>>       Certificate Consumers and had hoped to be pointed to that information so as
>>>       to better understand the scope of this proposed CWG.
>>> REJECT: This was discussed extensively during the governance reform
>>> process, and the current procedures were deemed to be sufficient.  This
>>> charter simply follows those precedents.  Indeed, two other chartered
>>> working groups were successfully bootstrapped already.
>> I understand one group was the Code Signing Working Group, which perhaps
>> did not have careful or close review from all Forum members due to the
>> explicit lack of intent to participate in the venue or fundamental
>> disagreements about the working group objectives.
>> However, I'm not sure, what's the other Chartered Working Group you're
>> thinking of? The SCWG explicitly did not follow this process, as part of
>> the Legacy Working Group transition, and so I'm not sure what the other CWG
>> is that avoided this?
>> Also, while I agree that this was discussed extensively, I must
>> respectfully disagree that the "current procedures were deemed to be
>> sufficient". The current (proposed) procedures were known to be problematic
>> in bootstrapping, something we discussed, and something we knew we could
>> avoid by defining an open and welcoming charter. This WG does not seem to
>> set out to do this.
>> In all fairness, this seems a repeat of the same issues the bedeviled,
>> and nearly derailed, the Forum in it's first start. The attempt to exclude
>> some CAs, via narrowly and restrictively scoped membership, nearly resulted
>> in the implosion of the Forum, as the management@ archives from 2009
>> show. Ultimately, it was the Forum's rejection of such exclusionary
>> attempts that helped grow the membership. In particular, it was DigiCert
>> who some were trying to prevent from joining the Forum, so it would be
>> unfortunate to have DigiCert repeat that same process.
>> I'm hoping you're open to addressing these issues, but I don't think we
>> can support the charter without this issue being addressed.
>> _______________________________________________
>> Public mailing list
>> Public at cabforum.org
>> https://cabforum.org/mailman/listinfo/public
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