Thawte Notary

Thawte Notary

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I'm now a Thawte Web of Trust (WOT) notrary and am able to make assertions in person of your identity in order to get your own name on a free Thawte Freemail S/MIME certificate. This is a certificate that allows you to encrypt and sign email message using most email applications available.

How does it work? You start by signing up for a free personal email certificate and through a number of assertions of your identity you can get your name on your certificate; otherwise, the name on the certificate simply reads "Thawte Freemail Member".

  1. Go to to sign up for your free personal email certificate. You can request a certificate at this point using the console and in a short time after the certificate is created you can use it immediately. Read the documentation for your email application for instructions on installing and using the certificate.
  2. While logged in, click "wot console" in the left navigation section.
  3. Click "find a notary".
  4. Click "View notary map".
  5. Select your location or use the quick search to find notaries in your area. Some may charge nominal fees, but many appear to assert your identity for free.

Notaries can give you anywhere from 10 to 35 points. When you get 50 points you can request a new certificate with your name on it. With your name on your certificate your identity can more easily be verified. Email recipients who validate your signature can easily see your name.

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  • When I send email to people using Windows (I use OS X) they see my S/MIME certificate as an attachment and are frightened. I even sent it to a Gold Certified MS consultant and he was clueless --- told me that he couldn't open the attachment. What do I need to tell these people so that my S/MIME certificate is transparent to them?


    r o n . b a n n o n @ g m a i l . c o m
  • Rob, unfortunately that's to be expected when the email reader doesn't understand S/MIME. Take a look at the MIME declaration for an S/MIME signature:

    Content-Type: application/x-pkcs7-signature;
    Content-Transfer-Encoding: base64
    Content-Disposition: attachment;

    The disposition is an attachment, per RFC2311 at Since the reads apparently don't understand S/MIME, they see it as a simple attachment. Actually, readers aren't required to not display it as an attachment even if they support S/MIME - it's just convenient not to display it.
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