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

Mike Robinson miker at sundialservices.com
Tue Jun 11 23:13:22 UTC 2013

Although it's entertaining to think about "creating something that's impossible for anyone to crack" ...

(a) You probably can't do it ... we're paying those guys bezillions of taxpayer-dollars for (presumably...?) some reason ...

but also:

(b) You most likely don't have anything super-secret or illegal to say, anyway ...


(c) If you ARE a crook, then "I =hope= that you get busted, you a*shole!"  ;-)  ;-)

Naahh...  I think that we =do= need to teach people about encryption, as it applies to things other than "https" web-sites... most especially to e-mail...

... but we shouldn't even bother to talk about "hermetically sealing messages such that they cannot be retrieved."  Or anything else that makes such good advertiser-attracting fodder on talk radio stations.  :->

Frankly, I think that our emphasis should be on teaching people how to manage their e-mails in such a way that they can actually have the same degree of confidence about them, that they take for granted with regard to snail-mail that's sent in sealed paper envelopes.  The problem is that people "erroneously assume" this about their emails already.  When you send a letter, most of the time it arrives still folded-up in an envelope that's still sealed.  Believe it or not, that's a fair bit of pragmatic security!  Whereas, every e-mail is not only "sent on a postcard," but it's absolutely forgeable.  You actually have no way to know that this-or-that email really did come from your mom.

The current problem is that, even though the technology to do so exists, e-mail encryption and/or signing is not routinely done because it's not easy.  (Perhaps we now know why GMail never made it easy, eh?)  Still, it's implemented in every e-mail client that I know of ... on all three operating-systems ... and there are PLENTY of real-world business settings in which you really do need to know about it and really do need to use it.  You're talking with your salesmen, your suppliers, your investors and shareholders . . . 

We do need to teach people:  (a) that the technologies exist; and (b) when it's appropriate and/or necessary to use it with email communications; and (c) how to set it up.  Not to create "the impregnable message," but simply, "the message that's folded-up and sealed into an envelope."

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