Re: [openpgp] Manifesto - who is the new OpenPGP for?

Phillip Hallam-Baker <> Thu, 26 March 2015 13:32 UTC

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Date: Thu, 26 Mar 2015 03:32:26 -1000
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From: Phillip Hallam-Baker <>
To: Christoph Anton Mitterer <>
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Subject: Re: [openpgp] Manifesto - who is the new OpenPGP for?
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On Wed, Mar 25, 2015 at 6:25 PM, Christoph Anton Mitterer
<> wrote:
> On Wed, 2015-03-25 at 22:56 -0500, Phillip Hallam-Baker wrote:
>> Web of Trust is a fine academic
>> theory but it is not how OpenPGP is really used in the real world.
> Lol?
> How else do you use it?

I see people using fingerprints directly mostly. Some download them
from key servers.

By Web of Trust I mean actually following a chain to check a key.

>> The lesson here that I draw is to look at how people are actually
>> using OpenPGP in practice and work out ways to apply the same approach
>> to other similar problems.
> Well if your goal is to drop the WoT respectively simply let people
> download stuff from a (secured or not) keyserver believing whatever
> comes and hoping the best,... then better call it something else
> (InsecurePGP?) and leave OpenPGP as is.

No, I think there are quite a few things that we can do today that
change the WoT game. People carry smart phones with near field
communication, barcode, cameras. So signing can be made a lot simpler.

Another very important and useful development is Certificate
transparency which has the effect of making the work factor for
spoofing a key a suddenly go to practically infinity.

Another resource to bring to bear is social networking

And yet another is CA issued. If you want to know that someone is
sending a message from the US gvot or a company that is organized in
hierarchical fashion, a hierarchical PKI makes sense.

I describe a hybrid approach in some detail with a mechanism for
comparing trust models in terms of a 'social work factor' here: