(I've CC'd general@ as we've got a fair few people travelling from afar who'd not normally go to regular meetings)

The CAcert event is in TWO WEEKS!  AAAND that might be a little too much excitement for some top notch nerdy bureaucracy!

Here is what CAcert *is* and *why* you should care...

CAcert is a global non-profit certificate authority that can issue certificates for use with TLS (commonly still known as SSL).  But unlike commercial certificate authorities (like Digicert, Comodo, IdenTrust, GoDaddy) they're completely free!

CAcert predates Let's Encrypt (abbreviated "LE", who also do free certificates) and has 5 key advantages...

Since your identity needs proving before they can be issued... CAcert users physically meet one another to verify we're who we say we are.  The more you've been "assured" by someone, the more points you get until you've got enough to generate free certificates and also assure other people... effectively it's "crowd sourced" trust.

After the presentation is over (presented by Alex Roberton, who presented a UK CAcert event in 2012) there'll be time to "assure" people and get "assured".

We've got all the forms here... so bring government-issued ID that has your photo on it, as many as possible (e.g. UK passport and UK drivers license).  Failing that, bring anything that confirms your ID (in an official way) especially something like your birth certificate, plus any documentation for marriage or "change of name" too if it applies.  If you're unsure there is a page on it here... http://wiki.cacert.org/AcceptableDocuments/UnitedKingdom

CAcert has fell on some hard times lately and I'm hoping to help bring this excellent project some new blood.  Work continues in being accepted by the "CA/Browser Forum" so their root certificates can get widely distributed.

"SSL certificates" are a RIGHT RACKET for the price you pay and it's shocking the small number of commercial players involved!  LE helps somewhat but as it's aims are different, it can only go so far.  Not far enough if we actually want to combat phishing involving misspelt domains (especially when people get a false sense of security seeing a padlock!  some re-education needed there, not helped by the browsers!).

It's advisable to make yourself a free CAcert account before coming along.  It's also helpful to know how to install their root certificate and generate your own client certificate.

If you want to assure people, you'll also need to pass a "challenge" online.  If you get stuck on this, just come to the presentation first and then try to take this after while you're here (we've got plenty of PC's).  If you've already generated a client certificate, just remember you'll need to have access to it (or create another) when you get here!

I've detailed any steps you might want to follow before the presentation (from making an account, to taking the "challenge") in the below blog post...


Hope to see you all there :)

Steven Maddox