Promoting the usage of OpenPGP

Werner Koch wk at
Fri Dec 6 10:10:41 CET 2013

On Thu,  5 Dec 2013 21:38, kloecker at said:

> S/MIME) for email as transparent to the users as possible. Ideally, the 
> users wouldn't even have to notice that they are communicating via 
> encrypted email.

100% agreement here.

> Unfortunately, I think email is a lost cause because there are so many 
> different mail clients that will never support encryption. I think we 

Please name those email clients.  I am not aware of any mainstream mail
cleint without encryption support (yes, Notes, but that is not
mainstream).  The real problem are webmailers.

> have a much better chance to replace email with something new that has 
> end-to-end encryption (and probably also authentication) built in than 
> we have to fix email.

There are some groups proposing this for some time now.  A few of them
have an obvious business case for their new system.

However, mail will stay with us because everything works by mail.  Mail
has replaced letters, folder and files cabinets.  You can't replace that
with an online communication system, much as it is not possible to
replace documents with phone call.  Mail is not done for the
communication but for documenting transactions.  A business needs to
retain most of its communication for 10 years and more.  In Germany you
are even required to archive certain private mails for 2 years (invoices
by craftsmen).  The online media is by design not able to fulfill such

Well, some are saying “you may send an attachment” using our system.
But in this case you are back to standard mail with just a different
transport layer (i.e. no RFC-821).  RFC-822 will stay with us and it is
actual trivial to secure.  Given that anonymity is very hard to
impossible to achieve using the current internet infrastructure, I would
also claim that SMTP will stay for the foreseeable future.  STARTTLS is
security wise not very different from https and has a chance to work
reliable as soon as we have working mechanism to replace PKIX.



Die Gedanken sind frei.  Ausnahmen regelt ein Bundesgesetz.

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