Anthony E. Greene agreene@pobox.com
Thu Apr 3 00:36:02 2003

markus_kampkoetter wrote:
 >i have been thinking about whether modern war is related to this lists
 >theme or not. if gpg is software to ensure that the information you get
 >is reliable (in many aspects and besides other functionality)

I am going to respond on the assumption that you mean the gnupg-users
list, since that is where this thread started (you put gnupg-users in
the Cc header). Your comments support this assumption (you commented
about the list, not the web site).

Your first assumption is faulty. OpenPGP (and GnuPG) only help to
provide a tamper-evident function for data. In other words, a
clearsigned statement that "Up is the same as Down" will validate just
as well as a clearsigned statement that "Up is the opposite of Down".
The use of GnuPG only ensures that it is clear that the data has or has
not been tampered with since the time that the signer signed it. It has
no function in verifying the correctness or reliability of the
information conveyed by that data.

 >and we assume that the information we get about modern wars through
 >our mass media is NOT reliable

This assumption is at least unprovable. For one thing, the terms are not
defined well enough (How much error is allowed before information is
"unreliable"? How do you measure error?).

Besides that, you are still talking about information, when GnuPG deals
with data, not information.

(To convert data into information, you must apply interpretation and
derive meaning. Data can be accurate, but meaningless until it is turned
into information. In this context, GnuPG can provide confidence that
data is unchanged, but it has nothing to say about the information

 >then discussions about modern war are not off topic.

A conclusion based on faulty assumptions.

If you oppose the war, fine. Just please do not pretend that discussions
of the war are on-topic for the gnupg-users mailing list. They're not.

I have my own position on the war, and on many other issues. I express
those opinions in forums where those opinions are relevant. In this
forum, I express opinions about GnuPG, OpenPGP, and some related
security and privacy issues. Those issues are "on-topic".

My (sometimes very strong) opinions about other topics are expressed
elsewhere. I respectfully request that you, and others who feel like
you, respect the purpose of this particular forum, and stay on-topic.

If you would like to debate the war, I will join you in some other
forum, prefereably private email, but probably in any forum appropriate
to discussions about the war. Whatever, you decide about issuing that
invitation, this is really not the place for that debate, no matter how
strongly people feel about it.

Strong feelings do not convert an off-topic issue into an on-topic

Anthony E. Greene <mailto:Anthony%20E.%20Greene%20%3Cagreene@pobox.com%3E>
OpenPGP Key: 0x6C94239D/7B3D BD7D 7D91 1B44 BA26 C484 A42A 60DD 6C94 239D
AOL/Yahoo Chat: TonyG05   HomePage: <http://www.pobox.com/~agreene/>
Linux. The choice of a GNU generation. <http://www.linux.org/>

Ordinarily I would clearsign a message like this, but my secret key is
not immediately available. A clearsigned copy of this message will be
posted at: