Why the poor uptake of encrypted email?

Nicolas Williams Nicolas.Williams at sun.com
Thu Dec 18 16:35:44 EST 2008

On Thu, Dec 18, 2008 at 01:06:37PM +1000, James A. Donald wrote:
> Peter Gutmann wrote:
> > ... to a statistically irrelevant bunch of geeks.
> > Watch Skype deploy a not- terribly-anonymous (to the
> > people running the Skype servers) communications
> > system.
> Actually that is pretty anonymous.  Although I am sure
> that Skype would play ball with any bunch of goons that
> put forward a plausible justification, or threated to
> rip their fingernails off, most government agencies find
> it difficult to deal with anyone that they cannot
> casually have thrown in jail - dealing with equals is
> not part of their mindset.  So if your threat model does
> not include the FBI and the CIA, chances are that  the
> people who are threatening you will lack the
> organization and mindset to get Skype's cooperation.

That's also true for e-mail where the only encryption is in the
transport.  Except that you tend to store your e-mails and not your
phone calls, of course.  But you could always encrypt your filesystem
and not your e-mail itself, and that way avoid all the portability
issues that Alec brought up.

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