Personal use of encryption was - Re: CGT and other whinges
Mon, 17 Aug 1998 12:44:06 +1000
Tony Barry wrote, in part:
> 1. I can get good encryption software off the net now of the kinds
> governments say is naughty as its too hard for them to break.
> 2. Forget browsers and all these bells and whistles. I can use the
> software to encrypt a file on my machine with my private key.
You could, but that is not the usual approach. If you want to secure
a file against attacks by the goon-squad or some other compromise of
your computer, encrypt it with your public key - then it can only be
deciphered with your private key. You should have created the key-
pair yourself and made sure that only you posess a copy of the
Likewise, if you want to send a secret message to Greg, for instance,
get a copy of his public key and encrypyt the message with that.
Then only a person who has the corresponding private key (hopefully
Greg and Greg alone) can decipher it. This raises the question of
being damn-sure you get a copy of Greg's public key - not that of an
imposter. This leads to a discussion about public key authentication
frameworks and the like.
I have just written the first half of a two part article on
cryptography. The first half is a tutorial on all this. It isn't
very complex - since I steer well clear of the weirdo mathematics
which operate inside the algorithms.
This will appear in the September issue of Australian Communications.
The GAK (government access to keys) campaign is analogous to strong
locks having been recently invented, and the government wanting a
master key to every such lock which is produced - even though such
locks can be ordered for free from overseas and any competent metal-
worker can create them from scratch using the well known techniques.
Robin Whittle email@example.com http://www.firstpr.com.au
Heidelberg Heights, Melbourne, Australia
First Principles Research and expression: music, Internet
music marketing, telecommunications, human
factors in technology adoption. Consumer
advocacy in telecommunications, especially
privacy. Consulting and technical writing.
Real World Electronics and software for music: eg.
Interfaces the Devil Fish mods for the TB-303.