Personal certs/Thawte Web of Trust

Melanie Dymond Harper mel at
Wed Jan 27 11:23:27 GMT 2016

[Apologies for breaking threading, I read this on digest.]

With the usual caveats that I do not speak for Thawte, Symantec or 
anyone else associated with them --

> Date: Tue, 26 Jan 2016 14:30:18 +0000
> From: Adrian Midgley <amidgley at>
> Why did Thawte Web of Trust (a phrase I associate with Phil Zimmerman) die?

I suspect it was at least partially a casualty of the sale of Thawte to 
(as it was at the time) Verisign -- plus, also, lack of takeup, 
scalability issues, and the like. Personal certificates are _still_ not 
easily usable by the vast majority of users, even this far down the 
road. Scalability was compounded by the fact that verification (whether 
by one or more existing Web of Trust notaries, or by e.g. a notary 
public) had to be done in person. 

Identity is hard, mm'kay?

> Did anything supplant it?

Not in the same manner (to the best of my knowledge). It wasn't a case 
of "something better came along", it was "this wasn't working for 



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