The Difference Engine PGP Key

This key is not signed or certified. I intend to use this key for any activity related to Difference Engine. This key will therefore be in use for years to come, so if you want to sign it, please contact me. Note that the user ID is set to be specific without depending on employment or location.

Key for user ID: b. <>
1024-bit key, Key ID 5A16752D, created March, 6th, 1996.

  KeyID     Trust     Validity  User ID
* 5A16752D  ultimate  complete  b. <>

Version: 2.6.3i


Download this ASCII public key here for convenience.

Why keep a PGP key?

To quote Philip Zimmermann: PGP empowers people to take their privacy into their own hands. This is a Civil Rights Issue, and its truth is hold to be self evident.

In addition, PGP allows for handling authentification, signatures, and verification. Individuals and organizations should make it as convenient as reasonably possible for anybody to verify their distributions and messages by providing bytecounts, checksums, and digital signatures. This is especially true for distribution of binaries, where looking over the source code is not necessary, convenient, or even possible.

The PGP documentation by Phil Zimmerman is an excellent guide to PGP and the issues surrounding it. One document, Volume I: Essential Topics explains the essential concepts for using PGP, and should be read by all PGP users. Volume II: Special Topics covers the advanced features of PGP and other special topics, and may be read by more serious PGP users. Neither volume explains the underlying technology details of cryptographic algorithms and data structures. Here is the Synopsis: "PGP(tm) uses public-key encryption to protect E-mail and data files. Communicate securely with people you've never met, with no secure channels needed for prior exchange of keys."

From the PGP User`s Guide

From the Quick overview

"PGP allows people to exchange files or messages with privacy, authentication, and convenience. Privacy means that only those intended to receive a message can read it. Authentication means that messages that appear to be from a particular person can only have originated from that person. Convenience means that privacy and authentication are provided without the hassles of managing keys associated with conventional cryptographic software. No secure channels are needed to exchange keys between users, which makes PGP much easier to use. This is because PGP is based on a powerful new technology called public key cryptography.

PGP combines the convenience of the Rivest-Shamir-Adleman (RSA) public key cryptosystem with the speed of conventional cryptography, message digests for digital signatures, data compression before encryption, good ergonomic design, and sophisticated key management. And PGP performs the public-key functions faster than most other software implementations. PGP is public key cryptography for the masses."

Why do you need PGP?

"It's personal. It's private. And it's no one's business but yours. You may be planning a political campaign, discussing your taxes, or having an illicit affair. Or you may be doing something that you feel shouldn't be illegal, but is. Whatever it is, you don't want your private electronic mail (E-mail) or confidential documents read by anyone else. There's nothing wrong with asserting your privacy. Privacy is as apple-pie as the Constitution.

Perhaps you think your E-mail is legitimate enough that encryption is unwarranted. If you really are a law-abiding citizen with nothing to hide, then why don't you always send your paper mail on postcards? Why not submit to drug testing on demand? Why require a warrant for police searches of your house? Are you trying to hide something? You must be a subversive or a drug dealer if you hide your mail inside envelopes. Or maybe a paranoid nut. Do law-abiding citizens have any need to encrypt their E-mail?

What if everyone believed that law-abiding citizens should use postcards for their mail? If some brave soul tried to assert his privacy by using an envelope for his mail, it would draw suspicion. Perhaps the authorities would open his mail to see what he's hiding. Fortunately, we don't live in that kind of world, because everyone protects most of their mail with envelopes. So no one draws suspicion by asserting their privacy with an envelope. There's safety in numbers. Analogously, it would be nice if everyone routinely used encryption for all their E-mail, innocent or not, so that no one drew suspicion by asserting their E-mail privacy with encryption. Think of it as a form of solidarity."

For more details see the online version of The PGP documentation.

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Author: B., email to, with public PGP key
Copyright (©) 1995, 1996 by author. All rights reserved.
Source: $Id: index.html,v 1.4 1996/06/08 20:33:13 b1 Exp $