Why the poor uptake of encrypted email?

Nicolas Williams Nicolas.Williams at sun.com
Tue Dec 16 13:08:00 EST 2008

On Tue, Dec 16, 2008 at 03:06:04AM +0000, StealthMonger wrote:
> Alec Muffett <Alec.Muffett at Sun.COM> writes:
> > In the world of e-mail the problem is that the end-user inherits a
> > blob of data which was encrypted in order to defend the message as it
> > passes hop by hop over the store-and-forward SMTP-relay (or UUCP?) e-
> > mail network...  but the user is left to deal with the effects of
> > solving the *transport* security problem.
> > The model is old.  It is busted.  It is (today) wrong.
> But the capabilities of encrypted email go beyond mere confidentiality
> and authentication.  They include also strongly untraceable anonymity
> and pseudonymity.  This is accomplished by using chains of anonymizing
> remailers, each having a large random latency for mixing with other
> traffic.

The subject is "[w]hy the poor uptake of encrypted email?".

Alec's answer shows that "encrypted email" when at rest is not easy to

Providing a suitable e-mail security solution for the masses strikes me
as more important than providing anonymity to the few people who want or
need it.  Not that you can't have both, unless you want everyone to use
PGP or S/MIME as a way to hide anonymized traffic from non-anonymized


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