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PGP and Weblogs

September 4th, 2003 by Ryan Ozawa · 3 Comments · Miscellaneous

After a bit of googling around (er, I mean, Googling™ around), I was heartened to see that people still use PGP, including the hep and cool web tribe of bloggers. I found public keys posted by the adored Joi Ito, for starters, as well as for Joe Lewis in California, Chris Lott in Alaska, Oscar Hills in Connecticut, Jonathan Greene in New York, and Clark Venable in Pennsylvania. Radioland users are PGP-aware, too, like Bruce Zimmer and Ken Hagler. There’s also Erik Abele in Germany, Anthony Hicks in London, David Maddison in the UK and Jonathon Mah Australia. A nice mix of folks from different points of view, although this quick list certainly skews geek.

I don’t know any of them, sadly. Though I guess I could send them a pointless encrypted message, as some sort of privacy fire drill…

PGP keys aren’t anywhere near as common as, say, those pointless personality tests and cutesy mood icons, but it’s a start. And if issues of privacy and identity are as important to this brave new breed of publishers as they frequently say they are, hopefully there’ll be more.

Even better, there has actually been talk of incorporating PGP and general PKI (public key infrastructure) into blogging tools. Someone’s built a mail-to-blog tool that uses PGP signatures to authenticate posts. And the Invisiblog service mixes PGP and anonymous remailers to offer almost perfectly anonymous blogging.

Paul Bausch went ahead and implemented PGP-signed weblog comments. And his experiment captured the imaginations of the developers of Movable Type. As Drupal founder Dries Buytaert wrote: “As online communities continue to grow, and as more and more websites become interactive, identity theft might become a big enough problem that we’ll want to deal with it.”

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3 Comments so far ↓

  • David Maddison

    Your right! There isn’t a huge amount of PGP usage about, and there damn well should be! Although you’ve spotted I do have my key posted on my site, I’ve NEVER received a single encrypted mail using it :-(

    I think the major issue is the complexity of the system. Yes, once you understand how it works it’s easy but a user has to understand quite a few cryptography concepts in order to fully understand PGP.

    I would love to see everybody using PGP, I for one use it with several friends, typically when I’m sending mails from work, (you never know who’s watching the gateways!) Of course my mails don’t contain any great war plans or anything, but it’s my freedom of speach to stop any old Tom, Dick or Harry reading all my conversations!

  • Oscar

    Yes. I have never received one either. Not that I expect to. I have my key posted because, well, I love PGP, but also because I believe in privacy, and I think the information age has rendered it an endangered species.

  • Daniel

    Every ass loves to hear himself bray...

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