Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Monday, May 22, 2006


So now it seems the government is snooping on the entire internet. I'm no expert, but from the article it looks like everything you do on the internet goes through an NSA computer. They can read your e-mail, find out what web sites you've visited, etc. Is it constitutional? Is it legal? I don't know. But it sure is creepy, and I wouldn't want ANYONE to read my e-mails except for me and the person I'm sending it to. So if you're like me, you might want to consider encrypting your e-mails. It's easier than you might think, and if you follow me below the fold, I'll give you a primer.

The internet standard right know is PGP, which stands for "Pretty Good Privacy". Don't be fooled, though! Despite its modest name, no known cryptographic methods can crack it. Other methods are available, but since this is the most commonly used, you might want to start with it. Here's where you can get it:

  • Windows users will want to get gpg4win, which is a nice graphical version. Setup should be relatively straightforward.
  • Mac users will probably need two downloads: Mac GPG and, if you intend to use it with Mac's Mail app, GPG Mail. Again, both are pretty straightforward.

If you want to use straightforward RSA instead, this website is a great start. You need a Unix-based system, however (like Mac OS X). I personally have an RSA pair and will get PGP soon.

Again, I recommend everyone do this. If you don't mind the government reading your e-mail, fine. But since you can do something about it, why not?


Anonymous said...

At the risk of exposing my ignorance, once I download and install the program for MAC Panther, what do I do? How do I know it is encrypting a message?

For the non-developers among us . . .  

// posted by USWest

Anonymous said...

Here's a website 
that explains every step you need to take in terrific detail. It's what I used and it made the process really easy. You just install the basics, create your keys and then get a plugin for whatever e-mail program you use. If you use web-based e-mail, it's slightly harder but not impossible.

I use Mac Mail for my e-mail and the process is unbelievably easy with that. You just type in an e-mail address and if you have that person's public key, it will automatically encrypt the e-mail. If not, it sends the e-mail as usual.

I really didn't explain what the process is fully. You download the software and create what's called a public key. Think of that as a padlock that only you have a key for: this is called a "secret key". You then distribute these padlocks to everyone who's interested; via e-mail, over the internet, whatever. This way, anyone can "lock" a message and send it to you. You then unlock it with your secret key. Again, all of this is done automatically with the Mac Mail program.

On the flip side, you can import other people's public keys easily too (with GPG Keychain Access, ) and send them e-mail in the same way.

I don't know. Is this at all clear? 

// posted by Bell Curve