Recommendations for handling (multiple) user IDs - personal and company ones

Mark H. Wood mwood at IUPUI.Edu
Mon Jun 10 17:48:19 CEST 2013

On Sun, Jun 09, 2013 at 11:52:32PM -0400, Robert J. Hansen wrote:
> On 6/9/2013 11:14 PM, Hauke Laging wrote:
> > The reason that most people do not use crypto is the most trivial
> > one: They don't think they need it.
> This is not supported by the studies.  Many people who do not use crypto
> openly acknowledge that maybe they "should", in a vague "I really should
> eat more salads and less meat" sense.  However, they see the risks to
> themselves as diffuse and distant, and the consequences mild.  If you're
> a political campaign worker and you send an unencrypted email of your
> contact list, and it gets intercepted by the other side, your screw-up
> has done enormous damage to your candidate... but you, yourself, will
> likely never face any real punishment for it.

So, "think I need it" is a continuous variable.  Many people think
they need it, sort of, in a small way, but think they don't need it
enough to pay the cost of learning to use it.

Provided that potential user X understands his position, the threats
to it, and his values w.r.t. those, he may be drawing a reasonable
conclusion against which I would not argue.

People don't need to encrypt their grocery lists, except in the sense
that it's easier to always do something potentially useful than to
make a decision each time.  The CIA does not care that I send myself a
reminder to get a book on software testing; this is noise, for their
purpose, and they'd rather not handle it.  Identity thieves do not
care to know that I fed the dog this morning, though my wife does.
Occasions when I find myself thinking, "I'd better guard this
information" are exceedingly rare.

But that points at the real cost of crypto: you have to think about
it.  There is no escape; you have to think deeply about slippery
things like identity and trust and threat models, and then you have to
apply your resulting policies a hundred times a day.  Software can
relieve large parts of the latter burden; it can do nothing about the
former, which is the hardest part.

Mark H. Wood, Lead System Programmer   mwood at IUPUI.Edu
Machines should not be friendly.  Machines should be obedient.
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