Please note that this is not a formal policy under PoP, rather a thought experiment

Policy for Assurance with Priestly Assistance

As CAcert moves forward with the Assurance standard, it risks raising the standard too high for emerging nations or other nations that have not pursued a standardised method of identification. Many countries are too poor or too laize faire to consider the need of identity documents as being a high priority.

Yet such countries have growing Internet and other telecommunications infrastructure.

All countries have their institutional structures and their trust vectors. For many these roots go back centuries. We can potentially tap these institutions to augment or replace the methods used in other countries.

Countries such as the Philippines are still religious, both deeply and widely. Indeed the Catholic Church and other churches may be the only strong institution in the outreaches of many country.

This proposed policy looks at how to tap the religious institutions for assurance purposes, with particular attention to the Catholic church as an example. Other religious orders could be considered as well.

The Standard of Assurance

The working level that assurance tries to reach is:

The specific stated standard is however - that the Assured has 50 points [AP]. This statement recognises that the working level above is impossible to reach if one of the assumptions is not present.

The challenge before us is to reach such standard in a country where no identity documents are issued and no assurers currently are deployed.


Priests in local villages remote from support of other institutions are capable of performing important ceremonies.

Presumably all of the above either speak directly to identity or include significant relationships to identity.

Today we would expected the state to fulfill many important roles leading to identification. But this is only a recent development in history, perhaps dating back no more than a century. Before WWI, passports were an option, a politeness in international travel [ML]. In western society, and especially those countries that have a history of colonisation from Europe, the Catholic Church has long filled in for the roles that the state now prefers to perform, and does so with its own code of law [CL].

The Priest as Assurer

One possibility is to simply declare the priest as Assurer, in much the same way as the TTP programme is conducted.

This would involve the following:

The Religious Order as supplier of Documentation

Most orders will also have some forms of documentation that could supplement the process. This could be identified and added.

For this purpose, consider:

The Flock as Assurers

Each member of a religious community operates under the precipts of that order. If asked to make a statement under those conventions, such a statement might carry some weight.

For example, a petition from friends and family, if enacted within the spirit of the church, may carry some weight. Consider something like:

Within the diocese and community of
     La Mancha     
I the undersigned attest before God that

     Alonso Quixote de la Mancha     

is a member of our community and church
and I have known      Alonso      for many years.
My Name Años My Signature
Sancho Panza
Dulcinea del Toboso

Some states in the US use 25 signatures from registered voters as a petition for notary public status. As a working number, a petition from 25 people in the community, declaring in some form under their deity, may be worth a lot. How many points would that be worth?


People experienced in both the structure and needs of CAcert and the environment and institutions of the given country would need to research the situation. The general procedure is to prepare a subsidiary policy under Assurance Policy, and propose it to the policy group for consideration.

Such a proposal would identify people, documents, processes and allocations of points. An initial seeding programme should be suggested. Strengths and weaknesses should be listed, with a special eye to risks that are likely to develop. Comparisons with other countries would be useful.