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Practice on Names

Currently this is an interpretation based on the Assurance Policy at http://www.cacert.org/policy/AssurancePolicy.php#2.1 to specify more clearly how to match names found in official ID documents with names stored in CAcert accounts.

It is intended to be a bit on the safe side and might be more restrictive as the policy itself. Also the interpretation concentrates on "western names". Though some thought has been given to other regions, it might be not suited well to special situations. If you encounter such a situation, feel free to explain it on the Education mailing list.

Non-policy Notes:

General Standard

It is preferred that the name used in the account can be matched exactly to the name as written in at least one government-issued Identity document.

For several reasons some deviations of this preferred standard are accepted.

Basic, Simple, Strict Rules

  1. We assure only names, that we can find in at least one ID document.

      • We assure only names, that we can find in at least one ID document.

  2. Its allowed to reduce information, but its prohibited to add information. (The data of the ID documents does not have to be used completely, that is not all given names have to be used and names may be abbreviated under certain circumstances.)

      • Its allowed to reduce information, but its prohibited to add information.

  3. Always document missing names on the CAP. (A person may have multiple names as long as they are verifiable with official ID documents)

      • Document missing names on the CAP.

  4. Transliterations are accepted because of technical reasons (8bit to 7bit conversions)

      • Transliterations are accepted

  5. We use Case-Insensitive

      • Case-Insensitive



Allowed Variations

Name(s) in ID doc

Name(s) in CAcert account


Bärbel Renate Fröhlich

Bärbel Renate Fröhlich

preferred variant

Bärbel Renate Fröhlich

Renate Bärbel Fröhlich

ordering of given names is arbitrary

Baerbel Renate Froehlich


Bärbel Fröhlich

middle name omitted

Renate Fröhlich

first name omitted

Bärbel R. Fröhlich

acceptable since two name parts (including the family name) are complete

Dr. Bärbel Fröhlich

Bärbel Fröhlich

like middle names, academic titles may be omitted

Κάρολος Παπούλιας

Κάρολος Παπούλιας

preferred variant

Karolos Papoulias

Transliterated according to ISO 843

Κωνσταντίνος Καραμανλής

Konstantinos Karamanlis

ISO 843, diacritical marks omitted

Борис Николаевич Ельцин

Boris Eltsin

According to AcceptableDocuments this would be the "official" translation in the passport. Note that if the translated/transcribed name is contained in a ID document this translation should be preferred to manual transliteration using ISO or other rules.

Anis Mohamed Youssef Ferchichi, artist name Bushido


if an artist name is included in official ID documents it may be used in a CAcert account.

Anis Mohamed Youssef Ferchichi

of course the "official" name may also be used

Peter de Vries

Peter de Vries

where: 'Peter' is the given name and 'de Vries' is the last name (preferred variant); see also Dutch usage of Tussenvoegsels; there exists no lists in the CAcert system that needs special name ordering; see also a20090618.9 on how to entering Tussenvoegsels into the system

Paulus de Vries

Paul de Vries

known NL country variation (read below). Requirement: citizen of the Netherlands

Hans-Peter Fröhlich

Hans Fröhlich

It is allowed but deprecated for german people. See the chapter on "Hyphen Rule" below.

Forbidden variants

Name(s) in ID doc

Name(s) in CAcert account


Bärbel Fröhlich

Bärbel Froehlich

either transliteration everywhere or nowhere

Bärbel Froehlich

Bärbel Fröhlich

transliteration works only one way

Bärbel Fröhlich

Bärbel Renate Fröhlich

Middle name is not in ID documents

Bärbel Fröhlich

Bärbel F.

Family name must not be abbreviated. Even if all names are given names, like for example in Indonesia, at least two names must be included without abbreviations (if present).


If there is a given name in the docs at least one has to be used.

Bärbel Fröhlich

Dr. Bärbel Fröhlich

Academic titles, like middle names, have to be contained in at least one ID document to be assured

Bärbel Renate Fröhlich

B. R. Fröhlich

At least one given name must be used completely.

Борис Ельцин

Boris Jelzin

not transliterated but transcribed (translated phonetically)

William Gates

Bill Gates

Though a usual nickname it is not acceptable, since it cannot be found on any document.

Matthias Beckett

Matthew Beckett

No translation of names

Note: If ID documents for other alphabets also contain the name(s) in Latin characters, like many passports do, these would be acceptable even if not conforming to ISO transliteration rules, because they are contained in official documents.

Practice on Suffix

see Wikipedia Suffix (name)

Suffixes are often a problem and leads into arbitrations, as suffixes mostly not added into ID docs. But this isn't noticed onto the join form :(

Despite the fact there is a link on the join form, most suffixes cannot be accepted, 'cause they are not listed in any ID docs. So the simple rule here is: prevent adding suffixes and only accept suffixes you may find in at least one ID doc.

If you find a suffix in the online account, ask the assuree, to correct his name in the online account or if once received assurance points, ask Assuree to file a dispute.

Relaxed Rules

The relaxed rules follows the general strategy as defined at PracticeOnIDChecking - CCA/AP requirements

Top Down Procedure to handle Strict and Relaxed Rules

Relaxed Rules: Extended Assurers task

All cases that ends with Not Passed have to be passed to Arbitration or to the Assurance team for a review. Follow the simple rule: document all Names you've read an ID doc, and all names of all the ID docs you've get presented (e.g. use backside of the CAP form)

Hyphen Rule

For the purposes of checking the Name against PoN, a hyphen in given names is to be treated as OPTIONAL.

The reasons for this are detailed in the Arbitration Precedents Case a20100302.1.

Since, in contrary to other countries, German custom and practice considers the hyphen as an essential part which connects two given names to one single name, German members are advised to use names in their account accordingly.

But since it is not possible for Assurers to verify every aspect of name customs it is considered acceptable to leave out the hyphen and treat two hyphenated names as different names if the member insists on it.

So acceptable variants are:

Note: CAcert can not and will not enforce every aspects of national laws and customs.

Further I rule, to add this sample into the PracticeOnNames as a default rule, to make the usage of hyphen in Givennames optional:

Principle regarding Assurance Statement is:

So acceptable variants are:

Name(s) in ID doc

Name(s) in CAcert account


Hans-Peter Meier

Hans-Peter Meier

Preferred variant!

Hans Peter Meier

optional (allowed) variant

Hans Meier

optional (allowed) variant

Peter Meier

optional (allowed) variant

Peter Hans Meier

optional (allowed) variant

Note: CAcert can not and will not enforce every aspects of national laws and customs.

Country variations

Note the Arbitration precedent set in a20120115.2 allows for most, if not all, of the known country variations listed below - however that listing is retained as it contains useful reference material for those from outside the countries concerned.

Based on the more general case made by the Assurance Officer with the introduction of "Relaxed Rules" for assurance, I also rule that any assurer can legitimately assure a person where the name on the assuree's account does not tally exactly with their ID Documentation provided that the following conditions are met

  1. the assurer documents exactly the names that were seen on the assuree's ID documents
  2. the assurer is convinced that the Account name, the assuree and the documentation all relate to the same individual and that the Account name is reasonable with respect to the assuree's name (If the names are vastly different and particularly if the account name is that of a well-known person, alarm bells should ring in the assurer's mind!)

  3. that the Risks/Liabilities/Obligations are disclosed to and understood by the assuree
  4. the assurer is satisfied that the assuree accepts the CCA
  5. the assurer is convinced that the assuree can be brought into arbitration if needed.

If these conditions are not met, there is the fallback option of filing a dispute for arbitration.

According to AP 2.2. Multiple Names and variations, I've set this case as a precedent under "different country variations" for Assurers

regarding AP 2.2. Multiple Names and variations

The Known Country Variations section gives advice to the Assurers, how they can handle Names according to the descriptions given in each individual section

Known Country Variations:



This discussion is about Assurance: matching ID documents with the names recorded in a CAcert account. What it is not about, or is less about, is what Name (if any) goes into the CN of certificates.

We will need a linking statement in the CPS that states how the names are used. Something like:

Just a suggestion.

Irish Country Variation

English Language short forms of names

Applies to UK, US, AU, NZ, CA and possibly others
There is a whole set of commonly used and standard "short forms" of English forenames. Examples include "Bill" for "William" and "Dick" for "Richard". (see http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Appendix:English_given_names and http://www2.elc.polyu.edu.hk/CILL/namesmatching.htm.) These names are often used by an individual in preference to their formal names (eg "Bill Gates". At least one example is currently awaiting arbiration and a past arbitration has ruled that short forms of names are allowable under AP 2.2 a20090618.2

I believe that it is worth adding a (non-exclusive) list of names and associated short forms that are allowable under relaxed rules for name matching purposes. Currently the example "Bill Gates" for "William Gates" is specifically not allowed under "Strict" rules but it is not clear whether this would (or should!) be allowable under "relaxed" rules x1)- I personally believe that it should be allowable but (particularly for people who are not native English speakers) clarification would help! Alex Robertson

Advantages and Disadvantages

From former discussion about Relaxed or Strict Rules

Further readings


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_personal_naming_conventions and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Family_name for some background about personal names.

Arbitration Case a20090618.12: An example of an accepted country variation.

PracticeOnNames (last edited 2015-02-15 16:30:18 by AlesKastner)