[kwlug-disc] Generating and using PGP keys
bjonkman at sobac.com
Sun Feb 22 23:36:17 EST 2009
On 19 Feb 2009 at 19:19 Chris Frey wrote about "Re: [kwlug-disc]
Generating and using PGP keys[...]"
>The keysigning party howto is probably the best on this topic.
>As for what to bring, I'd recommend:
> - some kind of ID with your name on it... preferrably a photo ID
> Some people want two forms of ID, but that depends on
> the person doing the signing.
No no no. The point of a keysigning party is to establish a web of
trust between peers. Relying on a "form of ID" transfers that trust
to the issuer of the ID. In the case of a driver's license or a
passport you trust the government to establish the identity of the
person whose key you're signing, rather than the web of trust.
>For me, I already know you, so I'd just want to make sure you
>haven't been using an alias all this time. :-)
Yes yes yes. Chris verifies Brent, Richard verifies chris, I verify
Richard, and so on. It's based on personal knowledge of each other.
Some people will be better connected than others -- those are the
people whose key signature is highly sought after.
>I'd just want to make sure you haven't been using an alias all
>this time. :-)
Exactly. Rather than trying to establish an absolute identity, the
purpose is to associate a particular key with a particular individual
in meatspace, regardless of what they call themselves.
Good keysigning party guidelines are at
That announcement is from July 2008, based on PGP documentation from
1996 (when I started using it). Over the last 13 years those
instructions have been posted elsewhere, but have been contaminated
with "...and bring photo ID to confirm your identity."
GPG isn't only for e-mail. Anything that needs to be verified or
non-repudiable can be digitally signed (tax returns, invoices, love
letters). Anything that needs to be kept secret or private can be
encrypted (love letters, hit lists, source code (ack!)).
GPG has not reached a critical mass. I used to go to the Toronto
Cypherpunk keysigning parties, but after a while attendance dropped.
Even members from Cypherpunks aren't using signed e-mail as much as
they used to. The TO CP also became somewhat commercial, when some
participants wanted to become rich by being Thawte Freemail Digital
Notaries. <Sigh> Money is icky and destroyed the Toronto
Today, I find TrueCrypt to be a far simpler means for me to keep my
documents secure, and I've largely given up on digitally signed e-
 How meatspace is viewed from afar:
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