Signing Keys w/ Multiple User IDs

David Scribner
Wed Jul 31 06:13:01 2002

--- David Shaw <> wrote:
> The classic PGP trust model gives trust through user IDs, so
when you
> "sign a key" you are really signing a user ID on that key. For
> example, if you want to send email to and you
have a
> valid trust path to Joe, you're all set.  If you want to send
mail to
>, you might be out of luck, even though Joe
and Patti
> are two different user IDs on the same key.  In this case, you
> that Joe is a valid name on the key, and therefore you trust
the key,
> but Patti is not a valid name, so you don't trust the key.

Thanks David (and Adrian) for your input! Although when I
refered to multiple uids in a key, I was meaning those that
belonged to the same person (ie: and, as are many times included in an
individual's key. Your explanations, even though they were
exampled with different users holding the uids on the key,
helped clarify it for me quite a bit.

> Personally, I email all of the user IDs before signing them
> to confirm the mail goes to someone who has access to the
> secret key half.

Good point I hadn't really ever considered before. Fortunately I
haven't had a situation where I didn't know if an email address
actually belonged to the keyholder or not (for exportable
signatures), but it's only logical... not sure? Don't sign!

> In the specific case you mention (a key used to verify a
> package), it does not matter.  This is because in this case,
the key
> is located by its key ID and not a particular user ID. Signing
one or
> all of the user IDs will have the same function of trusting
the key.

So if I understand this correctly, if a software tarball has
been signed by, yet that particular uid
(email address) is not his primary uid (but still exists on the
public key), and assuming that only the primary uid (let's say
that one is was locally signed by me,
the package would still return a good signature when verified?

Thanks again guys for all your help!


David D. Scribner           Email:
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