Encouraging email security.

Jean-David Beyer jdbeyer@exit109.com
Sun May 18 22:51:01 2003

Graham wrote:

 > On Sunday 18 May 2003 12:18 pm, Jean-David Beyer wrote:
 > [snipped]
 >> I do not know how to get around this cultural gap. But until the
 >> majority start using encryption for everything, not just sensitive
 >> stuff, those of us who do will just attract the attention of the
 >> very busybodies whose attention we wish to avoid.
 > This is the very point that Phil Zimmerman underlined in the early
 > days of PGP.  By encrypting only sensitive stuff you single out the
 > sensitive stuff and people only need to use their resources to tackle
 >  those emails.  If you encrypt everything then you do not single out
 > the sensitive stuff.
 > But this requires encryption technology to be used by the recipient,
 > be it PGP, GnuPG or S/MIME, and most don't bother.  Its not a matter
 > of difficulty (from my perspective PGP and GnuPG are easy to use, and
 >  S/MIME is freely available and even the certificates are free [from
 > Trustcenter.GB and Thawte]); they just can't be bothered to use the
 > tools and to understand how they work.  So the encrypted emails can't
 > be read and are ignored.
 > Its not so much a cultural gap, as computer illiteracy.  Many users
 > just want to press the power button and instantly be in touch with
 > email, usenet, or the web; even my wife gets frustrated waiting for
 > files to download and we're on cable broadband!  These users don't
 > want to know the hows and whys, they want everything available at the
 >  flip of a switch.  This is (after all) how they are sold their
 > computer systems: all completely ready to go once they've pressed the
 >  power button, even though it might not be completely accurate.

Well, they think they have privacy with paper mail, telephones, etc., a
delusion I admint, so it never occurs that they do not have it with e-mail.
 > ALL security software, from firewalls through virus checkers, and
 > encryption software are often seen by this type of user as
 > complicating the issue.  They don't really care about privacy, or
 > securing their system from outside eyes, because the internet is seen
 >  as a system they access, not one of which they are intimately a part
 >  like a node on a vast computer network.  That is the problem.
 > [I hereby end my rant :-)]
They WILL CARE the first time someone hijacks some very private
information and gets it on the front page of their local newspaper,
blackmails them, or turns it over to the FBI or something. But by then
it will be too late.

Perhaps our politicians will start using it, preferably before they
first run for office. ;-)

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