Concepts/OpenPGP Help Spread

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OpenPGP Help Spread

Current situation

Quite few people use cryptography in their private communication. This has been the case for decades and not even Edward Snowden's disclosures about NSA and GCHQ have been able to change this. This is not a problem of information availability but a problem of user interest and social pressure.

What is necessary

The usage of cryptography for private communication will probably seriously increase only if public presence of this subject at a certain level can be created and sustained over a long time (i.e. years). If users see messages like "We support email encryption" and "Here you can find information about how to use email encryption" in more and more places then many of them should stop regarding this as some geek technology without any relevance to them and start believing this is something "normal", something which many people have at least some knowledge about.

We need your help

The group with the highest interest in the propagation of cryptography is the current users of cryptography. The media and the economy have better means for spreading it but they will not do that in the near future. Thus we need the help of everyone who is already using crypto tools. Of course, people who do not use it yet but are planning to do so are welcome, too. Please have a look at the following suggestions and think about it which of them you can act on.


In order to maximize the effect you have to spread the messages together with links. Thus you first have to decide which web pages you want to promote. There are different groups of web pages about the subject:

  • pages with information for beginners (the concepts, which software you need, how to install it, how to create and publish keys and so on)
  • pages of teaching events (e.g. CryptoParties)
  • pages of people or associations who support the propagation of cryptography (by developing FOSS tools or by promoting it somehow)

All these groups are worth more attention. Pages we can easily recommend to you are the concept information pages on this site (OpenPGP For Beginners, Getting Started with OpenPGP) and the official CryptoParty site (if there are CryptoParty events in your area).


Web sites

Your own

If you have one or more web sites (e.g. a blog) then offer your certificate for download on the contact page and provide the links mentioned above.

Profile page

If you have one or more profiles on other people's web sites (e.g. Wikipedia) which you use under your real name (or the name in your certificate) then show your usage of cryptography there. A nice secondary effect is that it gets more difficult to abuse your name. Your profile page could look like this:

Hash: SHA256
7D82 FB9F D25A 2CE4 5241 6C37 BF4B 8EEF 1A57 1DF5

Crypto for everyone:

Version: GnuPG v2.0.19 (GNU/Linux)



As a crypto user you should sign your emails anyway. It's good if the others see more signed emails. Furthermore you should consider adding a text signature to all your emails (if you do not have one already) and putting a suitable link in it.

Social networks

Become a follower of groups about cryptography (best relevant for beginners) so that they get more attention (and you stay informed).


Consider a (regular) donation for e.g. developers of crypto tools. If you donate don't forget telling everyone you did.

Become an instructor

Send an email to all your friends (once per year) and ask them if you may (now) help them learning crypto. If you do not feel familiar enough with the technology to teach them then ask them accompany them to a CryptoParty or the like.

Consider helping others who organize CryptoParties or even organizing one on your own. You need not be a crypto expert to organize one, just get a room and participants. You should easily find an expert who is willing to help. See the official CryptoParty site.

Write an article

If you have a web site or a blog then write an article about crypto. You need not write about difficult technical stuff (there are enough articles about that available), you can write about your experiences with the technology or your efforts in helping it spread.

Improve others' articles

If you have become an expert then you will notice that there are lots of articles for beginners about crypto which contain errors or leave out important information. If you see such articles help improving them. Write a comment if that is possible (and don't forget the links to your favourite crypto resources for beginners) or mail your suggestions to the author (and ask him to add the links).


If you see articles on media web sites for which a comment like "That would not have happened of more people / the company / the authorities used crypto" seems suitable then write that comment. Don't forget the links to your favourite crypto resources for beginners.