key-signing for pseudonyms

vedaal at vedaal at
Tue May 18 02:03:34 CEST 2004

>Message: 8
>Date: Mon, 17 May 2004 22:55:34 +0200
>From: Jeff Fisher <jeff+gnupg at>
>Subject: Re: key-signing for pseudonyms
>To: gnupg-users at
>Message-ID: <20040517205533.GB1723 at frogger.jeffnet>
>Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"

>I'm open to be convinced that the real name is more important or
>important as the e-mail address, but all I've seen so far is that
>more important, but not why it is more important.  Granted, it's
>a bad idea to sign a key in a name that the owner does not use,
>but I
>don't see the problem in signing a key wih a pseudonym or alias,
> so long
>as that is how I know the person behind the key.

i have very mixed feelings about the entire issue of keysigning

assuming that it were *really* possible to verify a person's real identity,

and that everyone signing someone's key,
*really* knew the person, and signed only when they were sure,

then the web-of-trust would provide a data base that could potentially
be very harmful to privacy,
an extensive 'non-repudiable' ID data base 
that could be used to collect everything that the person ever 'signed'...

it would seem reasonable that if people 'wanted' to stay anonymous,
and created online pseudonyms,
but also wanted to communicate about topics to their interest,
then they could develop a reputation (for good or bad) based on the content
and tone of their signed communications,
and the reliability of their e-mail addresses 

for this type of pseudonym,
the gnupg trust system is ideal, in that it can be used to assign one
of the 'lower' non-exportable trust levels, indicating something like:

-- i never met this person and don't know who he /she 'really' is,
but do know that the person's e-mail address is the same as the key ID's,
 and also that i generally like what the person signs --


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