OpenPGP Signatures (was Re: How to get your first key signed)

joe.asmodeus at joe.asmodeus at
Mon Oct 5 00:24:38 CEST 2015

"Peter Lebbing" <peter at> wrote:
> On 04/10/15 17:04, joe.asmodeus at wrote:
>> Therefore, I agree that a blanket holding that all digital
>> signatures are non-repudiable is unlikely.
> I think you're moving the goal posts. I think Rob says that he's unaware
> of any
> case where a specific digital signature was argued to be non-repudiable.

If that was what he meant to say, he didn't say it.

"Robert J. Hansen" <rjh at> wrote:
> The idea that OpenPGP signatures are non-repudiable is a fashionable bit
> of nonsense: I am aware of no court, anywhere in the world, which has
> recognized OpenPGP signatures as being non-repudiable.

Which prompted me to ask "Are you aware of a court, anywhere in the world,
which has considered the issue?"  I wanted to find out if Rob knew of any
cases in which repudiability of OpenPGP signatures had been litigated.

Rob apparently thought I was questioning the legality of digital
signatures generally.  He replied "Yes, many!  Digital signatures are
enforceable in U.S. courts.  Non-repudiability, though, as far as I know
has never been successfully argued.  More to the point, I don't think it
could be."

That leaves unanswered the question of whether non-repudiability has ever
beem unsuccessfully argued, in other words, whether any court has
considered the issue.

If the goal posts moved, it was not intentional on my part.  Discussions
have a way of doing that.  The focus changes.  I offered my thoughts as to
 standards which might be useful in dealing with the question when it
comes up.  If a digital signature is a signature, its enforceability
should be determined in the same way a handwritten signature's
enforceability is.

So, I'll make my question more general.  Is anyone aware of a case in
which the validity or enforceability of an OpenPGP signature has been
argued?  It would likely have come up when a party to contract attempted
to repudiate his OpenPGP signature.

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