[Chugalug] Is time for crypto for non-techies class?

Mike Robinson miker at sundialservices.com
Tue Jun 11 19:25:26 UTC 2013

> Is time for crypto for non-techies class?

I think that people ought to know how to make their e-mail "as secure as https," and for the same reasons – not in some vain attempt to thwart the NSA.

You can teach them about "OpenPGP," which is a plug-in, and you can especially teach them about "S / MIME, aka PEM," which actually is built-in to most email clients already.  (But, strangely enough, not in webmail clients.)  Both of these are open standards.

The most significant pragmatic benefit to these is simply, "message signing."  It gives you some degree of confidence that the message that you just received actually came from your mother, and that your evil little sister didn't alter the message to say that YOU had to take the garbage out from now on.

I wish that the use of message-signatures had long ago become "routine practice."  If, say, Southwest Airlines routinely signed all of their e-mails with a publicly available key, then it would be possible to get rid of a lot of spam – as well as intentionally false or misleading or even harmful messages – just by creating a filter (say, on a mail junction server) that says, "if it comes from such-and-so but does not bear a valid signature from such-and-so, kill this message."

Message encryption is also nice, but a lot less called-for than signing.

There are legitimate reasons for crypto which have nothing to do with paranoia or mind-control.  Pay no attention to the little man behind the curtain.  Be sure that your aluminum-foil hat is in its full upright and locked position.  Truth is false.  Wrong is right.  You are getting sleepy, very sleepy.  These aren't the 'droids you're looking for.  Move along.  Move along.
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