RE: Digital Press Passes and Decentralized Public Key Infrastructures

RE: Probably the biggest problem that you can't get around is: Who decides who is in and who is out?

What you're really asking is:

  *   what is the tribe/nation state?
  *   who are the members of the tribe/nation state?
  *   how does someone become a member of the tribe (or citizen of a nation state)?
  *   how (on what grounds/policies) can membership/citizenship be revoked?

Further reading:

Best regards,
Michael Herman
Far Left Self-Sovereignist

Self-Sovereign Blockchain Architect
Trusted Digital Web
Hyperonomy Digital Identity Lab
Parallelspace Corporation


From: Scott Yates <>
Sent: July 19, 2021 3:48 PM
To: Adam Sobieski <>
Subject: Re: Digital Press Passes and Decentralized Public Key Infrastructures

Adam, (and friends),

I looked really hard at a PKI solution for a long time, and the downsides were insurmountable..

Probably the biggest problem that you can't get around is: Who decides who is in and who is out?

After beating my head against the wall for a couple of years, I came up with trust.txt. It's a text file in the tradition of robots.txt and ads.txt. In that file, press associations list their members, and members list their associations.

For example, the Texas Press Association's file is here: and the file for a small weekly paper in Hays has its file here:

With those, anyone can build a crawler and an algo to get confirmation about who belongs to whom.

No one body has to decide who is "press" and who is not. Groups on their own decide who is a member, and it's up to the platforms to interpret the signal and decide that the Hays Free Press is just a bit more trustworthy because they at least know that it belongs to the TPA.

I'm now rolling this out to press and broadcasting associations in the U.S., and hope to go international starting in the fall.

After studying it for a long long time, I think this is as close as we can get to a "digital press pass" that is consistent with the First Amendment and an open, decentralized web.

-Scott Yates
Founder<>, caretaker of the trust.txt framework
Short Video Explanation of trust.txt<>

On Mon, Jul 19, 2021 at 3:23 PM Adam Sobieski <<>> wrote:
Credible Web Community Group,
Credentials Community Group,

I would like to broach the topic of “digital press passes” towards a more credible web.

As envisioned, “digital press passes” could be provided to organizations and individuals utilizing decentralized public key infrastructure.

Webpages could include URLs to their “digital press passes” in link elements (<link rel="press-pass" href="…" />). This information could also be encoded in documents in a manner interoperable with Web schema. News content could be digitally signed by one or more “digital press passes”.

Upsides include: (1) end-users and services could configure which certificate authorities that they desired to recognize, (2) end-users could visually see, in their Web browsers, whether displayed content was from a source with a valid “digital press pass”, (3) news aggregation sites could distinguish content digitally signed by “digital press passes”, (4) social media websites could visually adorn and prioritize shared content which is digitally signed by “digital press passes”, (5) entry for new news organizations and recognition as such by existing services would be simplified, e.g., a new newspaper organization, the new news organization would need to obtain a “digital press pass” from a certificate authority.

Downsides include: impact on citizen journalism, where users other than journalists desire to publish or distribute news content.

Have these ideas been considered before? Any thoughts on these ideas?

Best regards,
Adam Sobieski


Received on Wednesday, 21 July 2021 23:56:21 UTC