Version 6 (modified by Daniel Kahn Gillmor, 10 years ago) (diff)


Some of your web sites tell me that your security certificate was signed by an unknown entity. What can I do to get to know you?

An SSL certificate is a file installed on our web servers that is designed to prove that the web site your are visiting really is run by May First/People Link. The SSL certificate is used when you visit a site that starts with https instead of http.

This step is important because it is possible to type in one of our web addresses into your browser, but be re-directed to another web site that looks like our web site, but isn't. If you enter your username and password, this information can then be stolen.

When you visit a site that starts with https, your web browser requests the SSL certificate. Every SSL certificate is signed by a "certificate authority." This signature says: The Certificate Authority called "ABC" (or whatever the name of the Certificate Authority is) assures you that the web site your are visiting really is run by Organization XYZ.

Your web browser comes pre-configured to trust certain corporate certificate authorities, like Thawte and Verisign.

We pay money to Certificate Authorities (such as Thawte) to have them verify our identity and sign our certificates.

We are beginning to take a new track. Rather than paying money to corporation to prove that we are who we say we are, we are instead creating our own Certificate Authority.

The catch: You have to install our Certificate Authority in your web browser. You can do that by clicking on the link below that says mfpl.cert.

Firefox or Iceweasel

If you are running Firefox, it will take you through the steps of accepting it automatically. Click the link that says mfpl.crt below, then scroll down and click "original format" where it says "Download in other formats." If Firefox prompts you to save the file, save it to your hard drive. Then click File -> Open and open the file. Follow the prompts to install it.

Internet Explorer

If you are running Internet Explorer, download and save the file. Then:

  1. Click Tools -> Internet Options
  2. Click Content -> Certificates
  3. Click Trusted Root Certificates
  4. Click Import

Verifying the certificate

If you'd like to confirm that this certificate is the proper certificate (and you have the gpg key for Jamie), you can download our respective asc files and run:

gpg --verify mfpl.crt.jamie.asc mfpl.crt

You should see output like:

gpg: Signature made Tue 11 Mar 2008 08:23:00 PM EDT using DSA key ID 76CC057D
gpg: Good signature from "Jamie McClelland <>"
gpg:                 aka "Jamie McClelland <>"

Certificate updates

Deleting certificates

In Firefox/Iceweasel

  • Click Edit -> Preferences
  • Click Advanced -> Encryption
  • Click View Certificates -> Authorities
  • Scroll down to May First/People Link
  • Find the old certificate:
    • Click on each certificate listed and then click view
    • Find the one with the serial number matching the serial number of the certificate you want to remove
  • Click OK
  • Then, select the certificate and click delete

Attachments (3)

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