[ale] Revised GPG Howto

jon.maddog.hall@gmail.com jonhall80 at comcast.net
Tue Jan 4 19:11:14 EST 2022

Another reason for increasing the use of GPG and other encryption....

One of the main drivers of the US Revolutionary War was the practice of the British government of breaking into the homes of citizens and searching these homes at any time for any reason.

It was out of this that the Constitution protects us from searches without cause, and without a legally issued search warrant granted by a judge based on evidence that your home should be searched.....and evidence of other crimes not mentioned in the search warrant should be ignored.

Eventually this was extended to communications which should be considered to be private unless there is some type of evidence that it is for illegal things, and only when there is a search warrant issued should agencies know what we are communicating.

The Patriot Act put a hole in this protection due to the threat of terrorism.   Then Edward Snowden showed us that federal agencies were not respecting even these protections.

Some people (correctly) say that with enough CPU power you can break any encryption, and in the long run that is true, and weak encryption is particularly vulnerable to newer technologies coming out.

However, what if everyone encrypted everything all the time?   Even things like lunch menus, love letters, instruction letters to your children.   Now there are so many encrypted documents that even powerful agencies with powerful computers will not know what to decrypt.   They will have to go back to the way they did it before, getting other evidence pointing to some heinous act, then either focusing their decryption techniques on *some* communications, or actually showing up at your house and asking you do decrypt the communications.....at least allowing you to know that your email or documents have been under suspicion.

Every so often (the mid 1980s and again right after 9/11) I had to write four or five page letters to various lawmakers explaining to them how trying to limit encryption was both useless and stupid (and yes, I literally used those terms), how good encryption was the basis of good authentication, and if you can not tell who you are actually talking to.....

Fortunately they listened to me (or I think they did) because several days after I sent the letter they dropped their efforts to limit encryption....


>     On 01/04/2022 9:13 AM Charles Shapiro via Ale <ale at ale.org> wrote:
>     I have posted my revised GnuPG Howto at http://tomshiro.org/gpghowto
>     -- CHS
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