Extended validation certificates: Now available to more businesses
Back in February 2007 when the original draft for EV Certification Guidelines was released, there were some complaints because EV certificates could only be purchased by incorporated businesses and government entities. One particular example that comes to mind that was shared with me was the example of an online knitting supplies store that grandma runs from her spare bedroom going bankrupt because nobody would buy from her anymore (a complaint that, to be honest, missed the point of the exercise - if *everybody* could obtain an EV, no matter how insubstantial their "business" is, then the primary benefit of said EVCs would be lost).
Version 1 of the Guidelines has been released, and it is now possible for unincorporated businesses (eg: sole proprietorships or general partnerships) to obtain an EV Certificate as long as they meet strict conditions.
To paraphrase the official website, an EVC is designed to provide a reasonable assurance to the user of an Internet browser that the website the user is accessing is controlled by the specific legal entity identified in the EV Certificate by name, address of place of business, jurisdiction of incorporation or registration and registration number or other "disambiguating information". It is also designed to help establish the legitimacy of a business claiming to operate a website, and provide a vehicle that can be used to assist in addressing problems related to phishing and other forms of online identity fraud. In short, the primary goal of an EV certificate, its "raison d'être", is to ensure that the certificate holder is who they claim to be, that the business is not a fly-by-nighter that is here today and gone tomorrow, and that it is not a shell set up to impersonate another, legitimate, business. If the aforementioned Grandma has no type of business registration, she has no business bank account, and the only means of contact with her is via cell phone and/or a PO Box, then she isn't going to get an EVC.
Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera and KDE are all taking part in the EV initiative and qualifying businesses are re-audited yearly to ensure that they still qualify for an EVC.
The full guideline, all 78 pages of it, can be found here: