Before: Arbitrator EvaStöwe (A), Respondent: CAcert (R), Claimant: Mark G (C), Case: a20131204.1

History Log

Original Dispute, Discovery (Private Part) (optional)

EOT Private Part


The account of the member who was reported as being deceased by the claimant was blocked at 2014-02-28. At the same date all mail addresses known for said account were contacted to inform the member (if he would be alive) that he was reported as being deceased to CAcert.

Neither action lead to any reaction.

As support had a long discussion with the claimant, where the claimant gave good reasons to believe in the death of the member, the claimant does not need to be contacted by the Arbitrator in this regard.

The discussion done by support also revealed that the chances to be able to contact any relative of the member are low. As this is the case, there is no need to discuss possible ethical implications of such a contact.

We have to assume, that we will not get any further information regarding this case.

As all evidence points to the member being deceased, we have to assume that this is the case.

The new version of the CAcert Community Agreement (CCA) clarified, that the death of a member should lead to a termination of the membership. This has to be used as a guideline for this arbitration case even as the old CCA was unspecific in this regard.

closing the account: certificates and assurances

The last certificate issued by said account expired before this case was opened. Nothing has to be done in this regard.

The member was an assurer and assured 4 other persons. Non of this assurances is older than 7 years.

We have to assume that there are unprotected CAP forms, somewhere. But as we have no option to get hold of them, nothing can be done here, either.

Another question is, if the assurances are valid even as the assurer cannot be contacted any longer, or if we need to revoke them.

We trusted the assurances as long as the member was alive. We continue to trust in assurances even when assurer die, if nobody reports their death or any problem regarding the assurances.

The death of an assurer does not change the identity of the assuree or if the assurer is/was trustworthy.

As the live or death of an assurer is completely outside of the control of an assuree, it should not affect the assuree. Even less should the fact if such a death was reported or not affect the assuree.

We have very few such reports and have to assume that there are unreported deaths of assurers. We do not revoke their assurances, as long as nobody challenges the assurances directly. It would be unfair to assurees of deceased assurers where a death was reported to revoke their assurances.

One may argue that we cannot verify those assurances. But experience has shown that we cannot contact all our other assurer, as well. As long as nobody challenges the assurances we trust in them.

There is no reason to treat the current assurances differently.

The fact that we cannot get hold of the CAP forms should only be relevant if the assurances are challenged. In this case the assurances probably would have to be removed. No such challenge is known.

(To revoke the assurances would not help to stop potential privacy violations done with unprotected CAP forms, so it would not help the assurees to protect their privacy.)


It has to be assumed that the deceased member had accepted the CCA. By this he had accepted the risks, liabilities and obligations (R/L/O) defined there.

The new version of the CCA that was installed after this case was opened, defines that those R/L/O end with the death of the member. The version the member probably has accepted, did not tell anything about the continuation of the R/L/O after the death of a member.

But as the discussion on Policy Group showed that there is no other sensible option, what may happen with the R/L/O in this case, this has to be considered a valid guideline.


Intermediate Ruling

The account of [member] should be blocked by support.

-- 2014-02-28, Cologne


We believe that the (late) member has passed away, as reported by the claimant.

According to the current version of the CAcert Community Agreement (CCA)[2] he has by this ceased to be a member. At the time of the death the last version of the CCA was in effect. That version did not cover the question when the membership ends in the case of the death of a member. As this was clarified with the current version, it has to be seen as how Policy Group intends case like this to be handled, even as it was not stated back then.

Because of this the risks, liabilities and obligations (R/L/O) of being a member based on the CCA have been cancelled as well at that date.

The account of the member should be closed by Support directly, as there are no certificats that need to be revoked. When a case number is needed the case number to close the account, a20131204.1 should be used.

If someone challenges the given assurances directly (naming them), later but before they are older than 7 years, the assurances have to be revoked as the required CAP forms cannot be produced. As long as this is not the case, they should not be revoked and remain valid.

Even as this is unlikely it should be covered by the ruling: The according CAP forms should be destroyed, if possible. (This does not have to be covered in the execution part.)

-- 2014-10-12, In a train between Hamm and Bielefeld


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Arbitrations/a20131204.1 (last edited 2016-06-27 10:34:29 by PietStarreveld)