2 Jul 2013, 12:55am



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  • PGP key

    The ermine is tired of government toe-rags trawling the Internet reading his mail, though not enough to actively do much about it. Let’s face it, posting this page means that both the British people (on the outbound end) and the Yanks on the server end get a bite of the cherry. Though to be honest, if the spooks or their agents are trawling the plumbing of the  net to get this then I want to know why they’re wasting my taxpayer dollars/pounds doing it when they might as well read it on the internet in a civilised way, starting at the front page, that’s what a blog is for. In the end the Internet is all about sharing information, and that means all sorts can get to read it if they want to try hard enough.

    Something that puzzles me is how people expect third parties to keep anything secret for them. It’s what I hate about anything cloud just for the sake of it. All your Facebook posts belong to us – as in belongs Facebook first, then anybody that can infiltrate or suborn Facebook. There again, what the hell did you join Facebook for, but to share your crap with your mates? Just think of all those other shady characters as a bigger web of mates.

    If you wouldn’t want your mother or your boss reading it on the front page of the newspaper, then for chrissake don’t put it down on your PC, smartphone or anything connected to the Internet. Don’t use something inherently connected to the whole bloody world 1 to store stuff you don’t want shared with the whole world 😉 Facebook, Flickr, Evernote, Google Docs, Google Mail, the lot of them are great for the digitally promiscuous. Digital storage is inherently promiscuous, copies are made regularly in the very working of the systems, if you want to keep something secret, use analogue media that aren’t so easily copied. Ink marks on paper in an envelope beats email, SMS, Facetime and instant messaging on security. The problem is the user interface sucks, which is how we got to the government reading all our stuff, ‘cos keeping it all on public systems owned and controlled by other people is just so damned convenient.

    If you have to send you racy love notes to somebody in secret, then familiarise yourself with the end to end principle. Trust nobody, other than yourself and your recipient – Benjamin Franklin observed the problem when he said

    three people can keep a secret, as long as two of them are dead…

    That means your message must leave your computer encrypted, and can only be decrypted on your recipients computer. You have to do all the dirty work yourself. This Guardian article that asks for Google et al to help us misses the point beautifully

    What can internet companies do? They can start by encrypting our data en route and in storage, foiling the snoops where possible. Then they can work together on the hairy details necessary to enable easy end-to-end encryption for users.

    No. NO no no and no. Nobody can help you with encryption. There are some things you just have to do yourself. To be honest even if you run PGP etc you can’t really know if it’s secure, or even if your personal copy is secure. There are things you can do to make it less likely that it’s been fiddled with, but 100% certainly isn’t available. And if anybody else can get your data back for you, then it’s not secure, is it?

    That’s a real operational PITA and this article goes into why, and how you can keep your mail private if you really want to.

    Because it’s  rude for governments to snoop like that I want to do my bit for creating a world where people have the option of getting an envelope for email, because, as those nice German people 2 behind GnuPG said, the envelope is missing

    So if you have a reason to send me email and you’d rather the government not be able to read it, then here is my PGP public key. Oh and if you didn’t know my email address before then don’t be a douchebag. Obviously the email in the key goes to /dev/null – if you need to contact me you’ll know my email address already and if you don’t then you don’t need to contact me that way 😉

    Version: GnuPG v2.0.20 (MingW32)


    1. there’s a case to be made that your PC is connected to the world anyway by all the malware that’s probably on it. However, Gmail is connected to the internet by definition, by design and by necessity whereas you can actually unplug your PC from the Internet and/or cover it in tinfoil
    2. an arm of the German Government, you’ll be glad to know in an ironic sort of way. For historical reasons the Germans really, really hate people spying on them in secret, so that particular piece of government work has probably been scrutinised heavily
    13 May 2015, 8:44pm
    by Graeme Muirhead


    How do I subscribe to your blog? Sorry for being really thick but I can’t see anything about this!!

    14 May 2015, 10:50pm
    by Graeme Muirhead


    Thanks đŸ™‚


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