"just invent something..."

LisToFacTor listofactor at mail.ru
Thu May 21 15:34:48 CEST 2020

On 5/21/20 10:52 AM, Ingo Klöcker - kloecker at kde.org wrote:
> On Donnerstag, 21. Mai 2020 00:14:40 CEST LisToFacTor via Gnupg-users wrote:
> I suppose you also entered an empty string for "Email address":
> `` > Real name:
> Email address: foo at example.com
> You selected this USER-ID:
>      "foo at example.com"
> Change (N)ame, (E)mail, or (O)kay/(Q)uit? o
> [...]
> ```
> A key with above User-ID is generated.
You are correct, the e-mail address was likewise an empty string.

First, let me mention that Web of Trust is to me not a useful public
key verification mechanism, as it is compromises my privacy. I use
other methods to make it possible for my correspondents to verify
the key.

I do not have a/one e-mail address either. At any point in time,
I might be using any number of addresses, depending on who I'm
communicating with, and none of those addresses is likely to
remain in use as long as the key I am generating. None of such
e-mail correspondents would have any idea whatsoever what to do
with a gpg-encrypted message received from me anyways. On the
other hand, for the exchange of personal and confidential messages,
I do not use the "conventional" e-mail at all - the encrypted
text is exchanged by other means, of which there are myriad.

I do know I could have given my name as "Peter P. Pumpkineater"
and the e-mail address as "peter.p.pumpkineater at example.com"
and the program would generate the key-pair for me. But the
question begs: is inventing false information the proper way
of preventing the leakage of personally identifiable information,
completely unnecessarily, via programs constructed by system
architects whose thinking about the privacy is stuck in the time
long behind us?

The proper thing for gpg program to do would be to allow the
personally identifiable information in the key to be optional,
and to warn the user generating such key that he will not be able
to participate in the Web of Trust. Wouldn't that be a better
system design than demanding the user to provide the false
information and treating such information as valid? Especially
as one would not be able to participate in the Web of Trust as
"Peter P. Pumpkineater", but there is no way for a program to
issue any warning for that?

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