Help Ukrainians

Could Let's Encrypt please revoke SSL certificates of all *.gov.ru sites. There are tons of sites using Let’s Encrypt. They are bombing Ukrainians.

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Yeah, I don't know about revoking but they're probably not supposed to issue new ones: How will US/EU sanctions on Russia restrict certificate issuance?

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I don't in any way speak for LE, but if I did, subject to legal requirements, my answer would be "absolutely not." The cert validates domain control. They've demonstrated domain control. That is (or should be) the end of it. This is no different in principle from the issue with spammers/scammers, and the dozens of topics here about those--yes, the scale of the problem is different, but the nature of it isn't. You're asking a CA to do things that are entirely outside of the proper scope of a CA.

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Hi danb35, thank you for your message. I understand your answer but Russia is killing and terrorizing civilians (as you and me) at the border of Europe. Revoke certification of Russia gov websites would definitely have an important impact on the Russian invasion, by helping to outcast their leaders.

There are many examples in the news of people and organizations going outside of their apparent scope to help Ukraine, because they have the power to help other people.

A non profit and free CA like Let’s Encrypt can only thrive in democracy. My opinion is that this war is against democracy. The nature is very different in my opinion from the issues with spammers/scammers. I understand that it seems quite far away, but Let’s Encrypt should engage because its basis is attacked by Russia.

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Dear 9peppe,
I'm representing Ukrainian community of IT professionals who is working for Ukrainian government during this war time.
As you know except rockets, mines and bullets - there is other utterly destructive weapon - propoganda.
We have collected list of sites which are used for Propoganda in Russia and it appears that 98% of them are using Let's Encrypt. We request your help for temporary blocking those sites and revoke existing certificates (we have collected all related serial numbers) .

We are ready to provide the list.
Please help us defeat Russian propaganda machine.

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I emphatize, but:

  1. I have no authority to do what you ask (I'm a volunteer here)
  2. There is a big difference between revocation and non-issuance.
  3. I wonder if OCSP responses should be restricted, do they count as encryption products? And in that case, do you restrict OCSP responses for every certificate for Russian government clients, or just OCSP responses for Russian government certificates?
  4. I am appalled that Russian government websites would use an American CA.
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Thank you for quick respond.
1.Could you please recommend us how to approach the problem? To whom should we be talking to ? We have wrote an email to Josh Aas and now we will issue an official request to him. However, I'm not sure it is a right strategy.
2. I understand the difference, but we believe they need to be revoked, to stop propoganda now and not issued for some period.
3. I believe OCSP responses can be treated as encryption products.
4. Let me give you few of examples:
news.ru,0333E14A9B0A28823B44CAA38BC8ACAB22F1,R3,US,Let's Encrypt
krasnoznamya.ru,04434A01827382B01F3AF7ED920B4C331086,R3,US,Let's Encrypt
red-banner.ru,03A30B8510C6EFD3B43D8BE1988670297E59,R3,US,Let's Encrypt

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I believe the staff is currently working with their lawyers on how to implement the US sanctions package, I don't know if there is something you can do. They're probably reading and not commenting on advice of counsel.

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Can I ask you to share their contacts with us? We want to send official letter to them.

See here: Contact - Let's Encrypt

Or summon them on the community by typing @lestaff

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If I may I suggest an alternate approach:

Consider publicly publishing your listing of Domains / Certificates Serials , and adding to it their connection to the Russian Government or a specific person on Specially Designated Nationals list (Specially Designated Nationals And Blocked Persons List (SDN) Human Readable Lists | U.S. Department of the Treasury)

You can then send that information to the US Department of State, alongside LetsEncrypt, and notify both that you believe the existence of the certificates violate the new sanctions - and advocate for the issued certificates to be revoked.

This situation is very tricky, because LE needs to follow US law, CA/B rules, and international guidelines. "Not issuing a certificate" is very different from "revoking an issued certificate". LE is most-likely barred by the new US Sanctions to issue new certificates or renew existing ones, but -- IMHO -- forcing a revocation of a previously issued certificate is not covered within the scope of the current sanctions.

I would not be surprised if the LetsEncrypt staff have their lawyers focused on this legal technicality right now – and I think the quickest path to an ideal resolution would be pushing the US State Department to cover this scenario in their sanctions.

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We are aware of the situation being discussed here and we are reviewing with our legal counsel.

We appreciate being made aware if you believe we are providing service to a sanctioned entity. If you believe we need to be made aware of service being provided to a sanctioned entity and you have reason to believe we may not already be aware, it would be most helpful if you can include a link to the relevant entity in the SDN list search:

https://sanctionssearch.ofac.treas.gov/

Thank you.

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Jvanasco,Josh,

understood, we will focus on the getting these organisations to sanctions list via US Department of State and make Let'sEncrypt aware.

We believe revocation is also important, lets us see if we express our point of view clearly to US Department of State and Let'sEncrypt.

Thank you very much for your support. I believe not only Ukrainian fights with tyrrany, but rather whole free world.

Vladimir

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Hi Josh, I know I am literally nothing, just a simple citizen of western Europe, but I allow myself to say that your answer is not enough.

Recent days have seen unprecedented decisions made by all kinds of countries and major institutions regarding Russia.

I hope you will understand that this situation is different from your previous experience and that you should not let Ukrainians do this war alone.

Please consider doing something unprecedented too, with the power of your organization.

I’m sure there are smart and fully legal actions you can take with Let’s Encrypt, that would help adding pressure and marginalize Russia.

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I would continue to strongly discourage doing anything more than the law requires. To do otherwise contradicts the position you've long taken with respect to spammers and scammers, and then the question becomes, "if you did it there, why not here?". There needs to be a principled position of the CA that its role, and its only role, is to validate what's in the certificate (domain control in the case of a DV cert). To do otherwise continues to support the misguided belief that a TLS cert indicates that its owner is in some sense a "good guy."

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Great!

I do too. I am not a fan of "the game" that LetsEncrypt must play by, but I recognize it exists. The best way to win, IMHO, is to understand the rules and find ways to use them to your advantage. In this particular scenario, that would mean lobbying the US State Department to correct a deficiency in their sanctions.

For many reasons discussed in past threads in this forum, it would be a significant mistake for LetsEncrypt to do anything more than US Law or the CA/B Forum requires. Doing so could positively impact the current crisis, but negatively impact all future crises and undermine the fight for democratic freedoms on a global scale. I know this is hard to understand in the context and emotions of the current tragedy, especially when there is an abundance of people here who support your efforts.

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If I will find you hurt in the street I will do no more than the law requires.
Are you really comparing a mad dictator murdering civilians and children with "spammers and scammers"?
I find your stance abominable.

Hard to imagine how much pressure the volunteers of that forum receive from the people hating spamers and scamers. They all want that Let'sencrypt engage fighting spam and scam.

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I don't see a single unexpired .gov.ru certificate listed in the certificate transparency logs:

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I understand your concern and frustration. I encourage you to search this forum, and the general internet, for past discussions regarding the long-term repercussions of aggressively de-platforming various entities from technology security systems.

The underpinning concept - which has been discussed at-length here and elsewhere, and is widely accepted by the global community - is that while there are often some short-term gains that can amount to being more than simply symbolic, these actions are likely to backfire, and ultimately result in denying the access to secure communications that is critically needed by civil dissidents and promoters of free speech. There are countless discussions on this topic in this forum's archives, technology security oriented blogs, and academic/geo-political journals that go into the extensive details and nuances of this subject.

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