I want to file a dispute against the account with the primary email address <primary email> because the name in the account says "<first givenname> - <2nd givenname> <lastname>" but I noted "<first givenname>-<2nd givenname> <lastname>" on the CAP form.

I accept DRP and CCA

Before: Arbitrator UlrichSchroeter (A), Respondent: CAcert (R), Claimant: Michael T (C), Case: a20100318.1

History Log

Discovery (Private Part)

EOT Private Part


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 written and spelled.

A similiar case has handled Capitalizing. However at question here is really whether an assurance of a name spelled with unusual spaces within the name 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 spaces within the name is arbitrary and potentially different from the presented Identification Documents. In other words:

If I tell you that the users name is "Jan-Philipp" or "Jan - Philipp", do you then know the users 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 spaces within the name 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:

Further more the Assurance statement is also regarding the question, if we can bind the guy into our internal Arbitration, and if he accepts the Risks and Liabilities given by the CCA, hence, the Assurance Statement goes some distance to detune or soften the need for pure identity documents ... as long as we can reliably get the guy to Arbitration, the precise Name and Documents matter less.

Another issue is, if the user starts turning the characters within his name: eg ppilihp-naj (Capitalizing was handled within a20090618.13). Does this match the users name ? Probably not ....

Given one more fact, that the local German law defines two Givennames combined with a hyphen to become one Givenname (the law follows an opinion of the organisation "Gesellschaft fuer Deutsche Sprache"). But CAcert is not an office of the German government. CAcert Inc. on behalf of the Community is an Australien Association under Common law, so CAcert follows Common law by default. DRP 2.2 defines: "The Arbitrator may select local law and local procedures where Claimants and all Respondents agree, are under such jurisdiction, and it is deemed more appropriate."

In Common law, hyphens are uncommon within Givennames, in practice any hyphens will simply be dropped. So in the end we're talking about the two Givennames Jan and Philipp. Are they correct in the online account in comparison you've seen in the users ID documents ?


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.

Frankfurt/Main, 2011-04-08


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