StartSSL Web-of-Trust  Network
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StartSSL™ Web-of-Trust Notary

StartSSL™ Web-of-Trust Network

WoT Policy - StartSSL Web-of-Trust Network

StartSSL™ WoT Policy - General

This is the internal StartSSL™ WoT Policy and does not replace, add, alter, define or enhance the StartCom CA Policy. Digital certificates issued by the StartSSL™ WoT are defined as Class 1 according to the Intermediate CA Policy of StartCom. For this purpose, StartCom assigns a exclusive Intermediate CA signer certificate to the StartSSL™ WoT. The purpose of the StartSSL™ WoT is to add its own added value of notary verifications made by its members and this policy defines the internal rules and procedures of the StartSSL™ WoT.

StartSSL™ WoT Rules

Every person participating at the StartSSL™ WoT is a member of the WoT network and can be a subscriber or notary or both. All members must follow and adhere to the policy. By becoming a member of the StartSSL™ WoT, the member agrees to this policy. It is the responsibility of the member to read and fully understand these rules. A member who received notary status may be liable if not adhering to this policy, therefore a notary must have an age of minimum 18 years old. It is also the responsibility of the member to make sure, that he is not acting in violation of the local laws and regulations of the members country and/or jurisdiction thereof.

Identification Rules

The identification and validation of a member by a notary must be performed in person - face to face. The member must present the notary with two original documents confirming the identity of the member, for example passport, identity card, driving license or other government issued papers, but must be nationally recognized as an acceptable form of identity. The notary may not accept paper copies, photo copies or copies in digital form from the member. The documents must have a picture of the member (photo identity) and an expiry date. Expired documents may not be accepted by the notary for verification purpose.

The notary shall make sure, to a reasonable extent, that the documents presented belong to the requesting member. In case of uncertainty, the notary shall decline the validation and/or contact the StartCom CA or the responsible person for the StartSSL™ WoT assigned by StartCom.

The notary shall compare the information of the member submitted to the StartSSL™ WoT web site. This information must be identical to the information found in the presented documents. Initials or other substitutes are not accepted as valid information, however middle names are not required to be included in the personal details of the subscriber. In case the information at the StartSSL™ WoT web site of the subscriber is incorrect, the subscriber has to update these prior to confirming the successful verification of the subscriber.

After the notary successfully identified the subscriber, the validation shall be confirmed at the StartSSL™ WoT web site and both parties, subscriber and notary shall sign two copies of this Validation Statement. Both parties shall keep one copy of the signed Validation Statement for three years and be presented to the StartSSL™ WoT or StartCom CA if requested.

Notary Status

Any member of the StartSSL™ WoT can be a notary, provided the member:
  • Is at least 18 years old.
  • Has been Class 2 verified by StartCom, e.g. has acquired a StartSSL™ Verified client certificate.
  • Has successfully passed an on-line knowledge test at the StartSSL™ WoT web site.
Notaries shall re-validate their identity every year by a different notary of the StartSSL™ WoT or re-new the StartSSL™ Verified client certificate. This policy also may require a notary to perform an on-line test from time to time.

Certificate issuance

A member may receive various digital certificates free of charge after having his identity confirmed by at least two different notaries. A record of successful verifications is published on the StartSSL™ WoT web site for relying parties.

Confidentiality and Privacy

A notary shall not make any kind of copies of the documents of the subscriber nor shall the subscriber provide such copies to the notary. No copies whatsoever shall be retained by the notary. Any information not published within the digital certificates shall be treated as confidential. This includes physical address and phone numbers. Additionally the member may limit access to his personal details at the StartSSL™ WoT web site and allow the notary access for limited time only.


This policy is subject to changes and it is the responsibility of all members to read the StartSSL™ WoT from time to time. Changes to the original policy shall be listed in this section.

  • 15th October 2009 - Removed in section General reference of exclusive Intermediate CA signer certificate
  • 15th October 2009 - Modified in section Notary Status reference Is Class 2 verified to Has been Class 2 verified