Where do your representatives in Congress stand on Internet Privacy?  Find out by linking to: http://www.cdt.org/votes.

I have added a list of FAQs.  Please read them before emailing me with questions.  If I respond to you, your question will likely be added to the list of frequently asked questions.  

Get your copy of PGP version 8.1  It can be downloaded at the PGP site at:


     PGP is 'Pretty Good Privacy'.  It is a publically available encryption scheme that allows Internet users to send encrypted messages to each other via the Internet.  'Fred's PGP Page' contains links to great information about encryption. Addtionally, it links to information about news events and legislation that will affect privacy of messages on the Internet. Recent events concerning encryption have been very troubling to say the least.  Please support Congressman Conrad Burns in his efforts to protect email privacy.  If the present administration has their way, email privacy in the United States will be a thing of the past.  

     I salute Phil Zimmerman in his fight for encryption rights on the Internet.  For those who don't know, Phil is the author of the PGP software.  The Federal government attempted to prosecute him because some other Internet user made the PGP software available on USENET (which allowed it to be downloaded from overseas).  It was claimed that encryption was 'munitions' and was therefore subject to export laws.  Instead of going after the person who actually posted it, they went after Phil.  It was three years of pain, but the government finally dropped its case.  It is reasonable to conclude that (1) the government thought PGP was a pretty good way of keeping them from reading our email, and (2) they didn't have a leg to stand on in their frivolous effort.  

     "When guns are outlawed only outlaws will have guns."  The same is true for encryption.  Which is why a recent press announcement of a bill to make PGP (and other types of encryption) users provide their decryption keys to the government (this is called 'key escrow') is quite disturbing.  What is the point of using encryption if the government has the means to read the messages?  Do you really think the criminal is going to provide the means to read encrypted mail?  Only the poor innocent end user is going to be penalized.  

     You can help by writing your Congressman and demand that laws protecting encryption be passed.  Additionally, you can send a note to George W. Bush and let him know what you think of this plan (hopefully how terribly bad it is and that it is probably unconstitutional).  Use your PGP key on your electronic signature on the message to show them how serious you are.  

     Another way to help is to get yourself set up with PGP and start using it.  When using PGP is the norm rather than the exception, a clearer message will be sent.  There are PGP Platforms for almost every operating systems and they are cross compatible (meaning that a message encoded with PGP for Windows can be decrypted by PGP for MacIntosh. GPG is the Linux version of PGP and can be downloaded from http://www.gnupg.org.  

     If you know of any good PGP sites, please let me know at: fatkinson@mishmash.com .  I will be glad to add them.  

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Revised: April 16, 2011.