- Case Number: a20090618.13
- Status: closed
- Claimants: Andreas Bürki
- Respondents: CAcert
Case Manager: Martin Gummi
- former Case Manager: Nick Bebout
- Arbitrator: Philipp Dunkel
Dear sirs I will not assure the following CAcert.org member until official advise by CAcert.org arbitration: First name: <Anonymized> Firstname Name: <Anonymized> Lastname Facts: - Place / Date of face-to-face assurance was during OpenExpo08 Bern (http://www.openexpo.ch/openexpo-2009-bern and: http://wiki.cacert.org/wiki/OpenExpo2009-CH-Bern), 2009-04-01 - In the Official Documents (Swiss Identity Card and Swiss Drivers License) of <Anonymized>, which i have controlled and in the CAP form filled by <Anonymized> himself, the first name and the name benign each with a capital letter followed by lower case letters. - In the CAcert.org account of <Anonymized> - which can by reached by his correct e-mail address <Anonymized> - his first name and name are written completely in lower case letters. His birth date is correct, because it is matching the date on the CAP form in my possession. - Two certified CAcert.org assurers <Anonymized> assured <Anonymized> in the CAcert.org it-system. Reasons for my non-assurance: - The writing of first name and name is different in the official documents of <Anonymized> and in his CAP form, from his CAcert.org account. Remarks: Often first names and name or, name only are written completely in capital letters in official identity documents. Personally I have never seen an official document there names and / or first names are written in lower case letters. The better writing of names and first names within CAcert.org matches official documents of CAcert.org members, the better acceptance might be in public as CAcert.org will be known as well as correct and strict assurance organization; I'm not even talking about e-government or e-payment. And it is the easiest for us assurers as well, if content AND form of needed CAP information is identical with official documents and CAcert.org account. And it is also the easiest in real life for a CAcert.org member, to proof his identity to any 3rd party, as he can show it's official identity documents who will match 1:1 his digital identity in certificates. Finally, less need for any kind of explanations. If somebody don't want this, he will take anyhow something like pgp oder openid, where e-mail address only is the issue. - Within the relevant CAcert.org policies    (Are there more or other adequate policies?) I couldn't find a clear and understandable statement. Nowhere in my knowledge is stated explicit the acceptance of first names and / or names written in lower case letters only, within a CAcert.org account. And, nowhere in my knowledge is stated explicit the denial of first names and / or names written in lower case letters only, within a CAcert.org account. Consequence is uncertainty and doubt and this leads me to non-assurance, as I assure only, what I understand and I don't make assumptions. Request to CAcert.org: Decision about the notation of names in terms of capital and lower case letters. Addition of relevant CAcert.org policies, pretty sure "Policy on Names (Draft)" in an clearly understandable way. I apologize for any inconvenience and thank you very much for your efforts in due time (A customer, yes a take members as customers, is waiting) Best regards Andreas Bürki Certified CAcert.org Assurer  http://svn.cacert.org/CAcert/Policies/AssurancePolicy.html  http://svn.cacert.org/CAcert/policy.htm  http://wiki.cacert.org/wiki/PolicyDrafts/PolicyOnNames
- Relief: To be determined
- Date of arbitration beginning: 2009/06/18
Before: Arbitrator To be determined (A). Respondent: CAcert (R) Claimant: Andreas Bürki (C) Case: a20090618.13
- A: Request of CM to initialise the case.
- A: Case initialised via E-Mail to Claimant. (Including request for Respondent Contact Information)
- A: Case reactivated. Respondent Changed to CAcert
Naming and the writing of names is a complicated subject that follows different rules in different cultures. Even within a culture there is a multitude of difference in how names may be spelled.
Capitalization is the subset of name spelling at issue here. There are a multitude of countries in which the script used differs wildly from western letters. In such scripts capitalization may not even exists. Names that are transliterated from such scripts would then have an arbitrary capitalization, since who is to say which parts of such a transliterated name are capitalized.
The claimant has himself stated that often times names in official documents are spelled in all capital letters although the name would generally be spelled with an initial capital letter followed by letters in lower case. So it is evident that even within the culture of the claimant capitalization rules for names (especially when taken outside the context of sentences) are unsettled.
However there are instances where capitalization of names does make a difference. As an example one can think of McCain or DeHaviland. Both names are properly spelled with a capital letter at the beginning and the interior of the name. Capitalizing correctly here may alter the name significantly at least within the culture of origin.
As a result naming and name capitalization is not something that can easily be prescribed.
However at question here is really whether an assurance of a name spelled with unusual capitalization is permissible. In order to answer that question one only needs to look at the Assurance Policy, which states:
1. Assurance Purpose The purpose of Assurance is to add confidence in the Assurance Statement made by the CAcert Community of a Member. With sufficient assurances, a Member may: (a) issue certificates with their assured Name included, (b) participate in assuring others, and (c) other related activities. The strength of these activities is based on the strength of the assurance. 1.1.The Assurance Statement The Assurance Statement makes the following claims about a person: 1. The person is a bona fide Member. In other words, the person is a member of the CAcert Community as defined by the CAcert Community Agreement (CCA); 2. The Member has a (login) account with CAcert's on-line registration and service system; 3. The Member can be determined from any CAcert certificate issued by the Account; 4. The Member is bound into CAcert's Arbitration as defined by the CAcert Community Agreement; 5. Some personal details of the Member are known to CAcert: the individual Name(s), primary and other listed individual email address(es), secondary distinguishing feature (e.g. DoB). The confidence level of the Assurance Statement is expressed by the Assurance Points.
Specifically at issue is item 5 of the Assurance Statement, because the question is whether a name "is known" to CAcert if the capitalization is arbitrary and potentially different from the presented Identification Documents. In other words:
If I tell you that my name is "philipp dunkel" do you then know my name?
In this specific case I would answer that question with yes. However that is a judgment call that will depend highly on the name and culture at issue. Throughout the Assurance Process the Assurer should be guided by their own sound judgment. In fact the entire system of the CAcert Web of Trust is based on us trusting an Assurers judgment. Since none of the items mentioned in point 3.1 of the Assurance Policy as guidelines resolve the issue of capitalization the Assurer is allowed, or in fact required, to use his own judgment.
So on the question of whether the claimant may complete this Assurance as requested in the original claim:
- There is nothing that would explicitly prohibit this Assurance from being completed at this time.
- However whether the Assurer feels confident that CAcert knows the Assurees name given the capitalization, he will have to use his own judgment.
As this case has no actual issue, it is dismissed without action. The opinion above may be used as a guide in other cases, but has no implicit precedentiality.
- 2009-11-13 (A): sabbatical by board member
- 2010-01-31 (A): sabbatical ended
- 2010-01-31 (CM): I'll take care about this case as CM as substitute to former CM Nick Bebout