[talk] How I stopped worrying, and learned to love GPG

Isaac (.ike) Levy ike at blackskyresearch.net
Sat Feb 21 20:57:08 EST 2015

On 02/21/15 20:33, George Rosamond wrote:
> Michael W. Lucas:
>> On Sat, Feb 21, 2015 at 08:08:24PM -0500, George Rosamond wrote:
>>> There is an author on this list who gave a great try in popularizing PGP
>>> for a more general audience, and maybe due to the books title, maybe due
>>> to it being in the pre-Snowden era, it didn't sell in any significant
>>> quantities.  He started from the reality that a few people encrypting
>>> email contradicts its function, as if only few emails on the internet is
>>> encrypted, it's by default suspicious, unlike, say, SSL/TLS web traffic.
>> Even Snowden didn't resuscitate sales of that book.
> Maybe not, but when the 'effect' hit journalists in particular, the book
> was pretty dated.
>> Those people who care, care deeply. Snowden made them care even more
>> deeply. But the pool of people who care is tiny.
>> Snowden did not expand the pool of people willing to use PGP.
> I disagree strongly, at least to the significant anecdotal stuff I know
> directly and indirectly.
> Greenwald, in particular, has made a strong case. He started working
> with Snowden a month later than he should have since he didn't have his
> keys setup, nor OTR, Tor, etc.  I don't just want to dwell on
> journalists, but that's where I've witnessed it closely. There are now
> regular conferences and events, not to mention online how-tos, focused
> on PGP use. For a significant layer of journalists today, there is a
> recognition that not having keys publicly available may mean you could
> lose the next significant whistleblower knocking at your door.
> Look at the usage of Secure Drop for a bunch of periodicals.  Wikipedia
> it if you don't know it.  There is a shift, and unfortunately, it's
> *our* scene that is last to recognize it.

I agree with a number of George's points here, and would add,

I think it's delightful that this entire discourse has moved swiftly
into broader places- even if the popularization has led to a
bastardization of important bits.

I don *not* think "our scene" really needs to fixate on expanding the
pool of users, in the world at large, as an end goal.  I believe "our
scene" needs to continue doing what it does well- keep focused on
writing, improving, and above all- enjoying using the software!


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