German ct magazine postulates death of pgp encryption

Peter Lebbing peter at
Sat Feb 28 17:10:28 CET 2015

On 28/02/15 16:25, Bjarni Runar Einarsson wrote:
> E-mail is the *only* surviving decentralized free and open messaging
> system with any clout today. Literally everything else in common use is
> proprietary and centralized. We should all be deeply worried about this.

Well, I think it's a bit grim to think that therefore a successor to replace
SMTP must surely be proprietary and centralized, and we should desperately
clutch to our last straw, SMTP. Plus, half the e-mail is anyway.
Proprietary, and centralized. It can still communicate with the rest of the
world, but for most contacts, it doesn't need to.

> Either way, even if this were a reasonable attitude, it doesn't in any
> way diminish or excuse the fact that OpenPGP in all its glory is too
> complicated for all but a handful of humans on the planet, most of whom
> are probably on this mailing list.

But a large part of that is due to the fact that SMTP was never built to
accomodate any form of privacy or security.[1]

Hence my comparison of SMTP being a sieve and privacy being a liquid to
transport in that sieve.

I for my part think it's unrealistic to keep using SMTP. As I said, you can keep
the endpoint communication the same, but the core network needs to be designed
with a different goal than SMTP was designed for, to wit, privacy and security.


[1] At least where it concerns using OpenPGP for e-mail communication, which is
what we are discussing. I think most users of Debian properly use GnuPG for the
authentication of the package management, as an example.


PS: By the way, I think you don't mean "literally" in the first quoted
paragraph. Because then I need to read your words in a literal fashion, and
verbal communication qualifies, in a literal sense, as a messaging system and is
not proprietary or centralized.

PPS: I like the word "literal". It's the one word in the dictionary that can by
definition not be used in any other than its true sense :). It's comfortingly
solid in that respect.

I use the GNU Privacy Guard (GnuPG) in combination with Enigmail.
You can send me encrypted mail if you want some privacy.
My key is available at <>

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