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Privacy Defended: Protecting Yourself Online by Chris Weber, William Chan, Gary Bahadur

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Problems with Certificates

In today's typical PKI, CA distribution of X.509-based certificates, several known problems exist. First, perhaps calling them certificates is a misnomer. As the definition implies, a certificate is a document testifying that its subject matter is true and authentic, officially and under the law. As in a Certificate of Birth or Certificate of Deposit, the contents are deemed true, authorized, and sealed; their truth should not be questionable. As the name implies, you would think a digital certificate serving to prove identity and validity would also be considered true beyond a doubt. However, that is not the case, and most CAs even have a disclaimer saying that they are ultimately not responsible for the contents or ...

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