what is killing PKI?

David Chadwick d.w.chadwick at kent.ac.uk
Sat Aug 25 14:28:50 CEST 2012

Another paper is

Identifying and Overcoming Obstacles to PKI Deployment and Usage
by Steve Hanna, available from




On 25/08/2012 00:13, John Clizbe wrote:
> Robert J. Hansen wrote:
>> On 08/24/2012 08:24 AM, peter.segment at wronghead.com wrote:
>>> I propose to you (and to the people who are putting all that hard
>>> work into gpg) that there are actually two "things killing PKI":
>> At risk of sounding dismissive, I really don't care what your pet theory
>> is until such time as you get out into the field, do a formal usability
>> study, write up the results and get them accepted to a peer-reviewed
>> journal.  Once you do that, I will be happy to read your paper, give it
>> due weight, and refer other people to it.
>> Until then, the definitive work is "Secrecy, Flagging and Paranoia:
>> Adoption Criteria in Encrypted Email," by Gaw, Felten and ... one other
>> author, blanking on it right now.
>         Gaw, S., Felten, E. W., and Fernandez-Kelly, P. 2006.
>         Secrecy, flagging, and paranoia: adoption criteria in encrypted email.
>         In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing
>         Systems (Montreal, Quebec, Canada, April 22 - 27, 2006).
>         R. Grinter, T. Rodden, P. Aoki, E. Cutrell, R. Jeffries, and
>         G. Olson, Eds. CHI '06. ACM, New York, NY, 591-600.
>         DOI= http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1054972.1055069
> Available at: http://www.soe.ucsc.edu/classes/cmps223/Spring09/Gaw%2006.pdf
> I would also add
>         Garfinkel, S. L., Margrave, D., Schiller, J. I., Nordlander, E.,
>         and Miller, R. C. 2005. How to make secure email easier to use.
>         In _Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing
>         Systems_ (Portland, Oregon, USA, April 02 - 07, 2005).
>         CHI '05. ACM, New York, NY, 701-710.
>         DOI= http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1054972.1055069
> Available at: http://simson.net/ref/2004/chi2005_smime_submitted.pdf
> And a perennial favorite:
>         Steve Sheng, Levi Broderick, Colleen Alison Koranda, and Jeremy J.
>         Hyland. Why Johnny Still Can’t Encrypt: Evaluating the Usability of
>         Email Encryption Software. Poster session, 2006 Symposium On Usable
>         Privacy and Security, Pittsburgh, PA, July 2006.
>         http://cups.cs.cmu.edu/soups/2006/posters/sheng-poster_abstract.pdf
> And its predecessor:
>         Alma Whitten and J.D. Tygar. Why Johnny Can’t Encrypt: A Usability
>         Evaluation of PGP 5.0. In Proceedings of the 8th USENIX Security
>         Symposium, Washington, DC, August 1999.
>         http://bit.ly/OaEeTD
>> Everyone on this mailing list has their own pet theory for why PKI
>> adoption is so lousy.  All of us are probably wrong.  However,
>> published, peer-reviewed studies of PKI adoption and the forces driving
>> and inhibiting them are probably less wrong.
> The peer reviewed literature has many, many, references on this topic.
> They're a great place to start when assumptions and pet theories take root.
> http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=email+encryption
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