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2016-04-14 Minutes

Minutes of CA/Browser Forum Teleconference – April 14, 2016

Attendees: Andrew Whalley (Google), Alex White (Cisco), Atsushi Inaba (Globalsign), Ben Wilson (Digicert), Billy VanCannon (Trustwave), Bruce Morton (Entrust), Dean Coclin (Symantec), Dimitris Zacharopoulos (Harica), Doug Beattie (Globalsign), Eddy Nigg (Startcom), Geoff Keating, Apple, Gervase Markham (Mozilla), JC Jones (Mozilla), Jeremy Rowley (Digicert), Jody Cloutier (Microsoft), Josh Aas (Let’s Encrypt), Josh Purvis (Cisco), Kirk Hall (Trend Micro), Li-Chun Chen (Chunghwa Telecom), Marcelo Silva (VISA), Mat Caughron (Apple), Moudrick Dadashov (SSC), Patrick Tonnier (OATI), Peter Bowen (Amazon), Robin Alden (Comodo), Ryan Sleevi (Google), Tim Hollebeek (Trustwave), Tyler Myers (GoDaddy), Virginia Fournier (Apple), Wayne Thayer (GoDaddy)

  1. Roll Call completed.

  2. Antitrust Statement was read by Kirk.

  3. Agenda Reviewed.

  4. Minutes of 31 March meeting: The minutes were approved with one change submitted by email and will be sent to the public list.

  5. Ballot Status: Ballots 165 (Governance Review Working Group) and 166 (change to membership bylaws) both passed.

Peter discussed the content of the draft Ballot 168 on the contents of Subject Alternative Names. The ballot addresses three things – the definition of a wildcard certificate, allowing the use of underscores in FQDNs, and introducing support for SRV names. The clarification for wildcards was originally part of Ballot 167, but removed because there wasn’t clear consensus. The goal of the ballot was not to change the definition of wildcard certificates, but merely clarify the language, as some members expected that it is a single asterisk followed by an FQDN, while others saw confusion between “left-most position” and “left-most label” language used in the BRs to permit forms of additional preceding or following characters in the certificate (‘ab*’ or “*’). Underscore support was meant to allow them anywhere a dash can be used, as a number of CAs are already issuing such certificates, presumably because Microsoft hostnames can contain underscores, and so the proposal was to allow them everywhere but the first and last character, which might otherwise cause ambiguity with service identifiers in DNS. Finally, SRV names allow scoping a certificate not just to an FQDN, but to a service or protocol. There’s a chicken/egg problem in that it’s not widely implemented because it’s not presently allowed.

Dean asked for clarification on the wildcard, and whether this was related to concerns with Microsoft’s standards. Peter clarified Rick Andrews had wanted to discuss with Jody about how Microsoft products behaved and what they supported. Jody pointed out a TechNet article on the list and indicated that’s all his team knew.

Ryan explained the concern had been that CryptoAPI supports more liberal form of wildcard matching, supporting everything described by Peter. Rick had raised the point about whether this should be allowed to issue, since Microsoft products supported it and it could be used there. This is similar to the discussion of underscores – they’re prohibited in hostnames by the DNS RFCs, prohibited in TLS SNI, and prohibited in protocols like QUIC. However, because the APIs for Microsoft’s resolver supported more than just DNS for name resolution, they weren’t strict about validating these, and so they just worked. In both cases, we have a set of standards – RFC 6125 or RFC 1034 – that describe how things should behave, and implementations diverge.

Peter pointed out it wasn’t strictly Microsoft’s resolver, and how companies and services, such as Blogspot, had come to use underscores, as shown from the Alexa Top One Million.

Ryan explained there were a number of interoperability concerns that had been inherited from Microsoft’s original behavior, so implementations supported them despite the standard. However, there were a number of bugs being tracked in Chrome, in the URL spec, and with the Mozilla Networking team to try to clarify and correct these. When Mozilla implemented enforcement for RFC 1034 hostnames, they ran into compatibility problems because CAs weren’t following it, and had to implement workarounds. It’s true that a number of implementations support it, but at least two browsers are trying not to. A larger technical discussion about how the issue arose ensued.

Peter pointed out that even if the specs prohibit it, it’s still used widely. Kirk indicated he was having trouble following the conversation and understanding what was being discussed, and asked that Peter provide further details about the ballot on the list. He pointed out that the original ballot on April 8 goes straight to discussing the changes, and requested that Peter instead provide details about the problem being addressed with each change, how it’s being addressed, whether there are problems anticipating with the change, and if so, why it’s not actually a problem. Peter confirmed he could do that for the underscore change, but for the wildcard change, he pointed out that this was a clarification matter that had been discussed previously as a point of confusion, and wasn’t meant to be a change in behavior.

  1. Domain Validation draft ballot: Jeremy noted that the Validation Working Group (VWG) had finished its draft ballot on domain validation methods at BR, and had forwarded on the public list for comment. Jeremy indicated the need to get public feedback on the proposal, and had gotten some feedback after Ryan posted on Twitter. The VWG had already received a number of suggested edits by email, and would consider at its next meeting to move toward a final ballot. He explained the background of the ballot, and the desire to eliminate the “any other method” provision of current BR Jeremy highlighted some changes to the existing methods while reviewing. The use of domain contact information, such as via WHOIS, now required the use of a Random Value, as did contacting one of the well-known email addresses (hostmaster, postmaster, etc). The practical demonstration of control, which used a file on a server, has now been significantly restricted to use a /.well-known/pki-validation path. The means for proving via DNS were established as using CAA or TXT records, and two new methods – using a test certificate or a TLS handshake with a random number – were also introduced. Peter emphasized that the current draft ballot may not be perfect, but included many improvements and could be further improved in the future as needed. Kirk encouraged all members to review the draft and get comments to the VWG by its meeting next Thursday.

  2. Governance Review Working Group. Dean noted that creation of the Governance Review Working Group (GRWG) had been approved by Ballot 165, and asked which members wanted to participate. Volunteers included Kirk Hall, Virginia Fournier, Jeremy Rowley, Josh Purvis, Moudrick Dadashov, Peter Bowen, Patrick Tonnier, Dean Coclin, and Andrew Whalley. Dean stated he would also send an invitation for additional volunteers by email and set up the first working group call.

Dean noted that the GRWG may want to bring in experts as well to help the WG review its options. Peter asked if experts could participate without signing the IPR, and said the WG might want to invite participation by representatives of relying parties such as Adobe and Oracle, but they might not be willing to sign the IPR. Kirk stated that the Forum had invited experts to make presentations at meetings before without requiring an IPR, and they could perhaps be invited as guests or “witnesses” to help the WG. Dean stated this could be discussed on the first call.

  1. Dean noted that ETA had applied for Associate Membership, and there was a question from the last call and the list about whether Associate Membership is the right category, or whether they should join as Interested Party, and wanted to solicit feedback from the members. Kirk indicated that Interested Parties can’t come to meetings or on the call, but Dean pointed out they could, if invited by the chair. Kirk proposed the distinction as Associate Membership being about the Forum reaching out and inviting people, while Interested Parties invite themselves, and suggested to get a single representative from the financial services industry who would be responsible for gathering the combined input from that industry, and communicating back to all its constituents the views and actions of the Forum. He objected to them joining as an Interested Party, if all they can do is participate in Working Groups. Peter pointed out that ETA is a trade association, not a standards organization, and primarily one focused on lobbying, education, and US public policies. Other standards organizations exist in the financial services industry, like EMV or PCI, and they’d likely point out that ETA is wholly independent from that. While it may make sense to have someone from financial services, it’s not clear that ETA is the right group, or necessarily a technical group.

Tim raised concern about the idea of only having a single participant from an industry. There’s three different standards bodies, a trade group, and is overall, a complicated industry. If all of these organizations wanted to provide input, there should be a means for them to do so.

Peter stated that would point to an Interested Party being the right approach. A key distinction about Associate Members is they get a seat at the table for every meeting, which is the entire point for Associate Membership. If we went with Associate Membership, the Forum would effectively be expanded to the “CA, Browser, and Financial Services Industry Representative Forum”

Kirk stated we need a resource for these activities, and we can’t have ten different resources. He suggested ETA could be responsible for taking the feedback back to members of financial service industry, but that he didn’t think Interested Party was right, because they couldn’t attend meetings or calls.

Ryan disagreed, suggesting that ETA, as a non-technical trade association, was unlikely be the group that could enact, respond to, or even be supportive of change. As a trade association, their interests are not necessarily security, but that of the interest of the members. He argued the important discussions should be happening on the mailing list, and when a member of any community might be impacted by the discussion, that they could speak up and allow the chairs to invite them. The risk of a large number of associate members is that the size of the meetings grows, impacting the ability to accomplish work, and that it may prolong conversations past the point a decision needs to be made. Interested Parties allows for more discretion to address that.

Kirk pointed out the SHA-1 deprecation never went to a WG, and thus adding Interested Party status wouldn’t help. However, Peter pointed out that the bylaws don’t restrict Interested Parties to working groups; it allows them full participation on the public mailing list. Kirk pointed out that the SHA-1 discussion did happen on the public mailing list, but still caught these parties by surprise. Peter then pointed out that they weren’t participating all, and that the problem was unrelated to the discussion of Interested Parties. If we are to grow this Forum to address more parties than just ETA, such as what Tim pointed out, then the mailing list is far more scalable than the current phone calls and meetings.

Kirk emphasized he was just proposing allow one member from financial services industry, and they should be responsible to communicate with all of the constituents in that industry. Ryan pointed out that multiple people have pointed out that there’s more than one organization, and it’s unlikely the Forum could find just one to be responsible. If the Forum is to scale, having a public discussion on the mailing list, with multiple distinct voices representing their interests, is much more open and welcoming of participation.

Peter then highlighted that the problem isn’t just about financial services – members have raised concerns about cable box manufacturers or consumer electronics devices, such as BluRay manufacturers, who may also be affected by SHA-1. So the decision here isn’t about just one industry, but about how to address the needs of many industries that may be affected and wish to participate.

Dean suggested the governance WG should address this confusion between Interested Parties and Associate Members as part of its activities, but then highlighted the need to come to consensus and a conclusion on the specific matter of ETA’s application. Peter proposed that there’s consensus on having them as an Interested Party, so having them sign the IPR and participate on the mailing list as a first step. If there are topics on the call or meeting that they’re interested in, they can talk to the chair, and the chair can invite. Meanwhile, the Governance WG can work on providing better guidance long term. Dean agreed that was a workable solution, and would take that proposal back to ETA.

  1. PAG/IPR Status: Dean said the list of non-signed IPR agreements was down to four. He had done all he could to contact them, and three of the four were totally non-responsive. The fourth member still has the updated IPR under legal review, but at this point the deadline has long passed, and he suggested the four members be suspended, with access and posting rights cut off until they signed the IPR, at which point they could be readmitted. The other members agreed by consensus. One member pointed out that its legal team was uncertain about what is a “draft guideline” and a “final guideline” as referenced in the IPR. Peter suggested the Forum website be updated to designate both the current version of the BRs and EV Guidelines as “final guidelines), and noted there were currently no “draft guidelines” as referenced in the IPR. Ben stated he would update the Forum website to reflect this, which may help speed up the legal review by one member.

  2. Validation WG Update: No further updates

  3. Code Signing WG Update: Dean noted there was a form of contribution agreement circulating that WG members needed to sign so the final Code Signing Baseline Requirements could become “creative commons” intellectual property. Peter noted that Microsoft had essentially adopted the Code Signing Baseline Requirements as a requirement for code signing under revisions to its root program rules, effective February 1, 2017. Jody noted that some have said the Code Signing Baseline Requirements can’t be labelled as a product of the CA-Browser Forum because the ballot for their adoption failed, and wondered if Microsoft could name its version of the guidelines the Microsoft Code Signing Baseline Requirements under the creative commons rule – if not, what should they be called? The WG will discuss by email.

  4. Policy WG Update: Ben said a ballot would come soon amending Sections 5.1 and 5.2 of the BRs, and possibly Sections 5.3 and 5.4 also.

  5. Information Sharing WG Update: Ben said Virginia will talk on the next WG call about some open issue relating to choice of law and antitrust issues.

  6. Other Business: Dean stated that the Fall meeting date in Redmond has been set for October 18-20, 2016 in Redmond, Washington near Seattle. He noted that the Bilbao meeting is coming up May 24-26, and asked members for Agenda items. Mat noted he is leaving Apple, and indicated how much he had enjoyed working with the other members. Dean thanked Mat for his contributions, and wished him well.

  7. Next teleconference scheduled for April 28th

  8. Meeting adjourned

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The Certification Authority Browser Forum (CA/Browser Forum) is a voluntary gathering of Certificate Issuers and suppliers of Internet browser software and other applications that use certificates (Certificate Consumers).