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Monday, February 28th, 2005, 4:01 am

Protect Your Message

LockEncryption has little practical use outside, for example, the government and defence domains, but signing of E-mail messages is essential as it is the only means of verifying identities. Unlike telephone or face-to-face interaction, there is no vocal identity and people in the past have been susceptible to frauds. To find out on ways of signing your E-mail, consider for example, GnuPG.

Phil Zimmermann explains why PGP (or encryption in general) is necessary:

What if everyone believed that law-abiding citizens should use postcards for their mail? If some brave soul tried to assert his privacy by using an envelope for his mail, it would draw suspicion. Perhaps the authorities would open his mail to see what he’s hiding. Fortunately, we don’t live in that kind of world, because everyone protects most of their mail with envelopes. So no one draws suspicion by asserting their privacy with an envelope. There’s safety in numbers. Analogously, it would be nice if everyone routinely used encryption for all their E-mail, innocent or not, so that no one drew suspicion by asserting their E-mail privacy with encryption. Think of it as a form of solidarity.

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