The New Age Email Etiquette

In a story told through the ages, it is said that a special messenger was tasked with sensitive private data in his hands. He compressed the content of the message to a phrase and using special chants hashed it. Flying swiftly, he crossed the length of a strait, before he was attempted to be intercepted. He realized the (wo)man-in-between attack was a threat to the security of the message and hacked his way past the impediment. Always on the alert, he dodged identical decoys of the actual recipient before locating the intended target via publicly known key identification marks (of the receiver).

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Hanuman Vector (Art by Karan Acharya)

The short version

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Image credit: Internet

This image condenses what is expected of a Public Key Cryptography, that makes the backbone of the PGP program.

In essence, Encryption scrambles messages so that, only someone with a key (or a tremendous amount of computing horsepower, or knowledge of how to exploit an encryption weakness) can decode them (Source: CNET)

The long version

Generate Your Keys (Register): Know that a key will help to uniquely identify yourself in the digital world. Obtain your keys from an open source tool/ software. I am aware of GPG Suite by GPG Tools and this website to generate your first PGP key. Your private key is your own - hash it, store it, save it some place safe. Show off your public key wherever you feel comfortable with.

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Content by Pavan Boora
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Content by Pavan Boora
  1. Implementations of PGP are known to have vulnerabilities. But do note that the standard itself is fairly robust and has been battle tested for decades without seeing any significant issues.
  2. Simple tasks like auto-fill of email addresses might be possible should you chose to go all-in on data privacy and go to the extent of encrypting your contacts.
  • Building the infrastructure for a mailbox that is willing to stretch to unlimited capacity with every ticking second.
  • Putting together a messenger that seemingly makes communication so simple that it is now considered a safe place by everyone in the family & friends to share their most private thoughts!

I was guilty of being one of those who never thought that an entire ecosystem will be built around “my data; my privacy”! I figure, it eventually boils down to how much significance you attach with that mundane data of yours; the information that you have been taught to undervalue so much is, in fact, the fodder for all the big sharks out there!

Will you feel a bit flushed, if you email your friend about your vacation plans and (before he/ she could even respond) begin to get some random phone calls from holiday agents? Or can you avoid acting nonplussed when you post a pic of your child today on social media, only to see ads of baby food following you everywhere?

A small speck of dust in the ever expanding ether

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