"When you're curious, you find lots of interesting things to do. " - Walt Disney
Question #9919 posted on 11/08/2004 4:13 a.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Computer privacy, and freedom of information concern me greatly. I would like to incorporate PGP encryption into my email client (thunderbird, and yes I run linux) but I am not sure of something. Does the recieving party need PGP also to decrypt it or does the key go with the email (I don't think this is the case)?

- Winston Smith

A: Dear Winston:

If you PGP encrypt the email, then yes, they need PGP to read the message. But if you just sign it, then the signature goes out as an attachment in a separate file. The message itself is still legible, but the signature can't be checked unless the receiver has PGP. It just shows up as a file called "signature.asc", which is occasionally confusing for the recipient, but a good way to tell them that it's worth being concerned about information security.

If you want someone to sign your key, send me an email.

-- Misaneroth