Robot CA at

Kyle Hasselbacher
Sun Dec 8 20:23:02 2002

Hash: SHA1

On Sun, Dec 08, 2002 at 07:22:50AM -0500, David Shaw wrote:

>> I think as long as there are some cases where we encrypt productively when
>> we would not have before, it's victory.  If I fail totally to encrypt when
>> there are multiple signed keys, or when there's a legitimate key that's not
>> signed, that won't bother me.  These are users who previously would have
>> never encrypted anyway.
>It is interesting to me that this design discourages encrypted
>communication between Granny and OpenPGP-savvy users (who are far more
>likely to have multiple keys than the average population).

That is interesting.  Still, I fall back to "Granny would have NO
encryption otherwise."

>If a robot CA must be done, and I do see some limited benefits to it,
>it must not become a free pass into the web of trust strong set.  That
>hurts all of the users of OpenPGP.

I think including more people in the web of trust is a good thing.  Part of
my motivation for creating this is that I saw so many keys which I thought
were good but which had no solid trustworthy connection to anything.  The
reason they had no connection is that making the connection is hard.  I
WANT to lower the barrier of entry.

I agree that it's sort of a "back door" into the web, and the unwary may
place too much faith in a path that is really weak, but the path is clearly
marked.  I think part of the problem is that WoT implementations treat all
classes of signatures the same--that is, the robot's lame "persona"
signature is just as strong as signatures made with a personal meeting.
Everyone is either in the web or out.  It doesn't allow for the "half-way
in" kind of trust the robot provides.

It's easy in this case simply not to trust the robot's signatures.
However, what if a person starts giving out signatures of different types
(this already happens)?  I can understand not wanting to trust the persona
signatures, but they're also producing sigs made with real verification.
If you cut out ALL of that person's signatures, you're eliminating people
from the web unnecessarily.  There needs to be a way to say that "Alice's
signatures are good unless they're personas."

Given that kind of functionality, you can have a web of trust that includes
practically everyone (but the blatantly bad), and still limit your trust
- -- 
Kyle Hasselbacher | To achieve the impossible dream, try going to sleep.  |                         -- Joan Klempner
Version: GnuPG v1.0.6 (GNU/Linux)
Comment: For info see