-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
I've recently started digitally signing my emails and newsgroup postings and I was wondering to myself why exactly I had made this decision. I want to share this with as many people as I can and explain
why I think this is a good idea.
Firstly a little bit about encryption and digital signing. When using an encryption you have a private key and a public key. For encryption purposes your public key can be used by others to send you encrypted email, and only your private key can unlock the data, usually a password is also required. Signing works the other way. It is the private key that can do the magic and the public key determines if the signature is valid. With decent email clients encryption is straightforward.
When I send a letter to someone I sign the letter to let people know who its from, when I send an email I rely upon them seeing the email address or something like "regards, richard." Now obviously anyone can fake this info, hardly anyone would bother, some may, but thats not a good reason for signing. The reason I choose to sign is because it takes a bit more effort and promotes encryption and signing. So in effect I sign because I want to see more encryption.
Why I want this is because when I send a letter I tend to put it in an envelope because I dont want the post man to read it on the way. Its not that I worry Mr. Posty is going to steal my identity, its just I dont like the idea of people snooping. Encryption is similar to an envelope, thats whats normal, and thats
what we should do electronically.
Imagine the advances that could be achived. Businesses could send emails containing personal information to you without worrying about others reading it. No longer will trees need to be chopped down for the sake of a bank balance, or a bill, or whatever. Admittedly your bank is likelyto have a website, but all the other letters you recieve can only come via post when you may find it more convenient to get them electronically.
The American TIA (Total Information Awareness) programme has been funded a hell of a lot of US$ by Dubya to come up with a way of data-mining all information and in effect have a file on everybody.
Its all about just translating what freedoms we currently have and expect IRL we should try to retain online. Just because its a new medium doesn't mean that everything is different.
-----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE-----
Version: GnuPG v1.2.1 (GNU/Linux)
-----END PGP SIGNATURE-----