It's 2014. Are we there yet?

Kapil Aggarwal kappu at
Fri Apr 11 02:01:17 CEST 2014

Now, that is something that would go down well with the average Joe user.

Mucho Gracias.

-----Original Message-----
From: Gnupg-users [mailto:gnupg-users-bounces at] On Behalf Of Robert
J. Hansen
Sent: Thursday, April 10, 2014 3:33 PM
To: gnupg-users at
Subject: Re: It's 2014. Are we there yet?

> I think this one is easy.  The key pair is a mathematical analog of 
> the old spy trick (I'm sure it's in the movies somewhere) of tearing a 
> playing card in two, giving one piece to each of two people who do not 
> know each other but must be able to recognize one another.  No two 
> cards tear *exactly* the same way.  And the math does this *much* 
> better.

I prefer an analogy of a mailbox.

Anyone can drop a letter in my mailbox.  You walk up to it, slip the letter
through the mail slot, and you're done.  However, only I have the key to my
mailbox: once you've dropped it in my mail slot, you can no longer read your
own message.  After all, you don't have the key to my mailbox.  And my
mailbox doesn't have to be secret: it's public knowledge where it is.
Anyone can drop a letter through the mail slot, and it doesn't affect the
secrecy of the messages.  Knowing how to leave a message for me doesn't help
you read messages that other people leave for me, but if I lose the keys to
my mailbox then I'm in a lot of trouble.

Most of the people I deal with have used mailboxes and mail slots before.
The analogy seems to work well with them.  YMMV, of course.  :)

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