Thoughts on GnuPG and automation

Sandeep Murthy s.murthy at
Tue Mar 3 21:47:54 CET 2015

> On 4 Mar 2015, at 07:24, Ingo Klöcker <kloecker at> wrote:

> After the recent terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels some German
> politicians are again arguing that we need Vorratsdatenspeicherung (data
> retention, i.e. storage of all communication meta data for 6 months) in
> Germany to prevent such attacks. Obviously, 99.9999999 % of this data will be
> completely unrelated to terrorist attacks, i.e. totally clean as you put it.
> You'd have statistically better odds by arresting random people on suspicion
> of terror. Still this completely pants-on-head absurd policy will become
> reality if those German politicians get what they want.

In Australia this idea, unfortunately, may become reality - a proposed
change to existing laws to require companies to retain metadata is being
debated in parliament, although public opinion is against data retention.
Hopefully this change will fail.

Once such a data retention law is in place it is dangerous because inevitably
there is a “mission creep” that sets in - it is not hard to imagine one day that
encryption software users, maybe GPG users, will be required to disclose
information about the way they use it.  I think in the UK recently the PM
made some ambiguous comments which can be interpreted as seeking a
ban on end-to-end encryption software by private users on the grounds that
terrorists benefit just as much as ordinary law-abiding citizens from using
encryption.  Of course this shows he just does not understand the issues
involved and this idea will not go anywhere.

Sandeep Murthy
s.murthy at

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