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The Mom Test

Sloppy (14984) writes | more than 6 years ago

Encryption 2

Out of the blue, I got an email from my mom. She's been corresponding with someone about some sensitive things, and asked how to encrypt her emails.

My writeup is 9 paragraphs long. *sigh* There's so way she's really going to be able to do all that without me eventually going over there.

Out of the blue, I got an email from my mom. She's been corresponding with someone about some sensitive things, and asked how to encrypt her emails.

My writeup is 9 paragraphs long. *sigh* There's so way she's really going to be able to do all that without me eventually going over there.

This is on Mac OS X. Sheesh. A Unix that doesn't come with gpg out-of-the-box, and the preloaded mailer (mail.app) needs a hard-to-maintain 3rd-party hack just to get basic functionality: you call this "just works?"

I don't wanna turn this into a specifically-Apple flame (I know of another high-marketshare desktop OS maker that also makes some pretty shitty apps), so I'll just make this generic comment: mail encryption is a very fundamental thing and it's ridiculous for it to not be built into all desktops. That's like a web browser that can't talk https. The howto I sent to my mom should have been about key exchange issues, not installing plugins. It's a disgrace for any mailer to not have this. This kind of shit is half the reason crypto goes unused by so many people. It's a pain in the ass not just because of the complex concepts (e.g. learning how to exchange keys safely) but because the most highly-deployed apps don't even work as-is.

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Not enough money involved (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24215965)

Use S/MIME, it's easier and involves buying certificates from a registrar.

http://www.macosxhints.com/article.php?story=20031224114524612 [macosxhints.com]

Maybe if you had to pay for GPG keys, they'd be that easy to use, because there's absolutely no other reason why the keychain couldn't have held gpg keys. Or why signing/encrypting a message couldn't have been just as easy as with S/MIME.

Really? (1)

Tet (2721) | more than 6 years ago | (#24216117)

I confess, my girlfriend has asked me to set up encryption for her email, and even the obsolete MUA we use (exmh) has support for encrypting messages, albeit in a suboptimal way. I'd assumed that all the major players in the market would have it set up to be trivial to use out of the box. I guess I was wrong :-(
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