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In Fort Collins, we haven't ever had a very strong representation for CACert assurers. CACert is another alternative for certificate signing for things like secure web site certificates (SSL), e-mail client certs, etc. Instead of having some monolithic organization, CACert uses a distributed collection of citizens who assure others. This is called a Web of Trust. Getting tied up in that web can be work though…

In order to get the 100 points necessary for you to assure other people, using the web of trust, you need to get other people to verify your identity. The maximum points a normal assurer can give out is 35, but there is no standard for how many points an assurer should give out.

For example, several years ago I tried to use the web of trust to get 100 points while I was traveling. At that time there weren't enough assurers in all of Colorado to get the points from, so I thought I'd try it on a trip. I mailed nearly a dozen people along the route I was taking, and only was able to meet with one. For him, a passport and drivers license was only good for 15 or 20 points, so I still would have needed a lot of other assurances, which just didn't seem to be available.

Finally, this May I did the “trusted third party” route. Using this, I present IDs to people like notaries or bank managers, and then send the paperwork in to Australia. I finally got the return receipt on that package back the 28th of August. Quality postal system. Finally, the first week of August, I got my 150 points right away.

I then floated the idea locally about assuring a bunch of other people. With the various meetings I go to every week, I figured it'd be a snap to get other folks assured. Since we only had one other assurer in Fort Collins, I petitioned the CACert board for “Super Assurer” status… and got it. Dah da da daah!

This allows me to assure people above the normal 100 point limit which is imposed for points gained by the Web of Trust. I can give people up to 150 points alone.

I scheduled some cert-festivities at NCLUG nd BLUG, and added a last minute event before NCLUG (since many people couldn't make the meeting). I only certified people who also had two other folks (or more) assure them, and also encouraged people to cross-certify so they'd get experience with doing the certifications.

Up front, I got Evelyn, Kristen, and Scott certified (and to cross certify), to get them up to well over 100 points, so they could certify others at the event. We also had Matt Taggart out from Seattle to assure, and at NCLUG John Marvin showed up as well.

Around NCLUG I got 9 other people up to 150 points. This should allow us to have enough people at any NCLUG or Hacking Society meeting to get people up to the 100 points they need with just one gathering.

In Boulder I got another 9 people certified, which should do the same for BLUG and Boulder Hacking Society.

Not all these people have publicly announced themselves as assurers, despite my urging, but many have. In the last 2 weeks, Fort Collins has gone from having 1 assurer to having 6, according to the “Find Assurer” page on CACert. Even tonight at Hacking Society, which was only attended by about a third the normal people, we still have 3 people, enough points to get someone up to the 100-point max.

So, it was a great success. Sadly, I was so busy assuring people that I didn't think to take any photos.

So, over all a huge success.

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