Use GPG to encrypt your communications. Please!

I’m really cross about the current state of surveillance as drawn to our attention by Edward Snowden. As a UK citizen, I don’t feel the US government have any right to my data, nor do I believe that any other government including my own should be reading my email or private messages without permission. And it should have to fight damn hard through the courts to get that permission.

There’s been enough said about this elsewhere, although I’m surprised that more people – particularly people who would describe themselves as ‘techies’ like myself – are not completely up in arms about the revelations that have been made. (I guess we’ve all assumed that something was going on, but found it easy to ignore without evidence.) As someone who has been on the internet since its inception, it’s galling that it has come to this.

I’ve also been blindly calling for all people to encrypt all their personal communication for decades, without success – mostly due to laziness and lack of decent, user-friendly tools. Admittedly, I usually also do this drunkenly in pubs, which does not always provide the best audience. Nevertheless, the more encrypted traffic is out there, the more privacy we all have, as an encrypted email becomes less of a suspicious marker for interested parties.

I have recently rekindled my desire for this to happen, so have prepared a page on configuring Windows and Chrome to do encryption with a smallish amount of work. It’s still techy – the tools are unfortunately still not up to scratch, and if I had more time to devote to OSS projects I would try and help with that. (Note to others: Don’t let me. I suck at UI) — Nevertheless, I have produced this guide by talking a semi-technical friend who would not normally manage the vanilla GPG applications through to sending me an encrypted email, and it worked.

I’m hoping that as time goes on, I’ll be able to filter my email such that if it’s encrypted it goes into my inbox, and if not, it goes into a greylist – with possible exceptions for elderly family members and my dearest wife. ;-) – Unfortunately, Facebook may be another matter.

I’ve left the actual content as a page on the top of this blog as it contains my GPG key (which may be useful to people) and in case it would otherwise get lost in the flood of additional content that gets posted here on a regular basis (hahahaha!) – and also because I consider it to be very important! So, please read the page and send me something encrypted. Even if it’s just a picture of your cat. Or someone else’s cat.