Showing posts from March, 2015

Secure PGP for Webmail – Making your communications private

What people don't realise is that all email communication is public. It is all sent via the SMTP protocol and is always in plain text. Everything is readable just by picking the message out of the wire(s). It is never private by default. These days all email is scanned by email servers and, in the case of Google, scanned to provide you with advertisements to pay for your 'free' email. The impact on revelations by Edward Snowden, The Guardian and other newspapers has been to make people think about how they use online services. Many people have also been looking how they can have a degree of privacy in communication. Whether privacy is desirable, wanted or required is a different political and social question. If you decide to start using PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) to encrypt your mail and provide yourself with more privacy you will find there are a number of programs out there to help you. In addition the official release of the open source pgp includes a plugin to add capa

CitizenFour and Privacy

Channel 4 screened the documentary Citizenfour in recent days. It would be over-simplistic to describe it as the Edward Snowden documentary although to a certain extent it is. Basically the documentary takes place mostly in Snowden's bedroom in a hotel in Hong Kong as you see the story of him revealing the NSA / GCHQ spying programme bit by bit. Underlying it all is how the keyword 'terrorism' has become an excuse for making us all suspects. I am always particularly disturbed by the well-worn statement that 'if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear'. This is of course simply ridiculous because I am sure the people who think that would not like government CCTV in their homes monitoring them 24/7 if they have 'nothing to hide'. However the rather interesting bit, away from the threats governments pose to civil liberty, is the use of encryption to send messages between Snowden and the journalists. Every so often you would see a bust of data onscre