Managing Subkeys for Professional and Personal UIDs

Robert J. Hansen rjh at
Sun May 4 12:52:36 CEST 2014

> No, there are no good reasons.

If that's an axiom in your system, then so be it.  But let's not go
about thinking that's something you've deduced from principles.

> There is no technical problem to give different signers the same
> rights to make certain signatures but make it comprehensible who
> actually signed it. This is important in case an error happened or
> someone intentionally did something wrong to commit a crime.

It's not about technical problems.  In the case of the President and his
autopen, it's about legal problems.  Under United States law, for a
piece of legislation to take effect the President must affix his
signature to the *exact same piece of paper* that the House and Senate
affixed their marks to.  He's not allowed to sign a copy.

When the Affordable Care Act passed Congress, the President was off in
France.  He wanted to sign it immediately, but couldn't.  The piece of
paper approved by Congress was in Washington D.C., he was in France, and
time was of the essence.  One option would be to put the bill in an F-18
and fly it to France for the President's signature, but even then it
would be a five or six hour delay.  The President instead chose to have
a third party issue his signature on his behalf using an autopen.

You are certainly free to think this is a broken system.  (Thinking the
American political system is broken is the favorite pastime of many
Americans.)  But you have to admit this is a real-life example taken
from the highest corridors of power in an environment where there are
some extreme security implications of allowing third parties to execute
the President's signature...

... /and yet they choose to do it./

That's the world we live in.  You are, of course, free to scream that
they are all idiots and fools and morons who are not listening to your
divinely-inspired wisdom.  Me, I'm going to grit my teeth, say, "well,
let me see if I can help them not make a complete hash of things," and
engage the world as it is.

> And you should know that. I read your story "Two Thousand Miles to the
> Promised Land". Just imagine that guy being able to make signatures
> appeared to be made by you or anyone else in the company without the
> recipient knowing, juts because there have been "good business
> reasons". Imagine how much more damage he could have done.

Did you read the part about the ex-CEO breaking into my apartment and
accessing my PC?  Come on, man.  My *personally owned* certificates were
compromised.  How much worse could it really have been if he'd chosen to
improperly use my *corporately owned* certificate?

> And as a side note. Your answer to my other mail completely missed my
> point. I was saying that you are using phrases and rhetoric rather
> than arguments to try to defend your point.

If you haven't been seeing arguments, then I respectfully suggest
reading closer.

More information about the Gnupg-users mailing list