[cryptography] How much does it cost to start a root CA ?

ianG iang at iang.org
Sat Jan 5 10:00:04 EST 2013


On 5/01/13 00:01 AM, yersinia wrote:
> On Fri, Jan 4, 2013 at 8:41 PM, John Case <case at sdf.org> wrote:

> Many today say that there are too many root CA, not a few. Is not it?
> https://www.eff.org/observatory.
>
> have i missing something ?

Yes - the number of CAs is not so relevant to the question.  Don't get 
distracted.

What OP introduced was an economic theory that says that incumbents seek 
to group together, create "cartels" and raise barriers to entry.

This indeed is what has happened, and the name of the cartel is 
CABForum.  It's a bit more complicated than the straight theory has it, 
as for example it was open for any CA to apply to join.  And it is a 
cartel across 3 sectors:  CAs, auditors, vendors.  If you know your 
cartel theory, look at De Beers.

Sadly, of course, there are far too few economists and business people 
in the area of cryptography and PKI, so talking about the economic 
theory of cartels and so forth is wasted.  The normal response will be 
for the supporters to chime in, shout the economists down, insist they 
prove their points, and drown out the dissent.

It's worked up until recently :)  Unfortunately in 2011, the wheels came 
off and the number of CA embarrassments sky-rocketed.  Something wasn't 
right ... and the debate has been on.

CABForum responded by tightening the wheel nuts, which is exactly what 
the theory of cartels expects:  Do what we are doing, but do it much 
better and more expensively.  Show everyone!  But don't change the rules 
that keep us in business.



iang



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