electronic-mail --help


Conventional unencrypted e-mails are comparable to a postcard, because their content is sent openly and easily readable. If you turn the postcard around, you can read what is written on it. You can assume that your e-mail provider reads your messages and is not interested in the image of a cat on the back of the postcard. Machines capture the written content fully automatically. The provider of Geee-Mail even confirmed in 2013, that they read everything. Of course, these services work very well. Because your information is Big G's capital. You use their product, but you are a product yourself. Encrypted email is the equivalent of a closed letter. But even with an encrypted e-mail, the sender and recipients and the subject is readable, as well as when you sent the letter. Nevertheless, the content of an encrypted email is not readable. Only the recipient can read the content with a special key. Users of so-called PGP encryption are journalists, activists, whistleblowers, but also authorities and security agencies.

Its just for education

In 20 years of using email, I have received or written less than 50 encrypted emails. Only a few users use PGP encryption all the time. And even if in a mailing list one person makes a mistake and writes an unencrypted email with all previously written content, then all the encryption was for nothing.

So applying PGP encryption is just for teaching about it. If you want to keep a secret, you don't choose an electronic way to tell it. I would like to describe here briefly, how you can write me an encrypted email, completely without a secret. I will be happy, to receive such a mail from you.

Privacy in information technology comes with the choice of a secure operating system for the computer. Open source software is not safer than proprietary software. But a large community of users has insight into the code base of the open source software to review the code and vulnerabilities can be detected faster. So privacy comes with the choice for a UNIX-like or a GNU Linux distribution, because it is open-source. I really like to mention Debian or Arch Linux and Gentoo here.

Whats gpg?!

gpg - is a encryption and signing tool command line program, but it also has a graphical interface. With gpg you can create a key pair or manage public keys from other contacts. The software gpg comes with the Debian operating system preinstalled.

Alternatives for gpg on the Windows operating Systems are Kleopatra or Gpg4win. After the install of Kleopartra you will get a step-by-step tutorial, how to generate and use PGP Keys in the software. Its also possible to use Kleopatra as a Thunderbird-Plugin.

The command, which is provided in the contact-section inside the email frame works with gpg. If you execute the command in a terminal it contacts a keyserver (in my case keys.openpgp.org) with the flag --recv-keys following with the Key-ID. The keyserver should prompt you my email adress and my public key. I also provide my Public-PGP Key in the contact section. You can use my contact to create an encrypted email and send it to me. It doesnt matter what is written in the email. It is the process, not the result that I want to draw attention to.

You dont care?! Just write me an email.

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