Relevance of e-mail (was [OT] Why are you using the GPG / PGP keys?)

Mark H. Wood mwood at IUPUI.Edu
Tue May 28 22:05:39 CEST 2013


1.  Establish a pattern:  none genuine without this signature.  I
    understand it's not possible to prove that an unsigned message
    didn't come from me, but this couldn't hurt.

2.  OTOH I *can* show that a signed message must have been made with
    knowledge of a specific key, which I assert that I control.  When
    I do write something, I want my authorship to be believed.

3.  Habit.  The same reason I always automatically relock doors when I've
    entered:  if I have a policy then I don't have to make judgments
    in most cases.  (Yes, I *always* carry a house key.)  Considering
    all the gooey rubbish I *don't* send to my correspondents, I hold
    that the small cost of a signature is entirely negligible.

4.  Privacy.  While I prefer to hand-deliver things like new
    passwords, I'm willing to send them in encrypted emails if someone
    insists.  Or I might want to write to a family member something
    that's not super-secret but is nobody else's business.

5.  Cool factor. *blush*

6.  My signing habit is my tiny contribution toward a future in which
    any unsigned email is automatically suspect.  This would make it
    feasible, for example, to set up a rule sending all mail with
    no or unknown signature to a UCE folder (or the bitbucket).  I
    won't hold my breath while I wait, though.

I should distinguish signing and encryption.  I can count on my fingers
the number of encrypted emails I've sent, but I assert that I sign all
emails addressed to humans.  (Some mailing-list robots are fragile and
have trouble with signatures when directly addressed.  Boo.)

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