[messaging] Transparency for E2E encrypted messaging at a centralized service

Daniel Kahn Gillmor dkg at fifthhorseman.net
Thu Mar 27 07:53:45 PDT 2014

On 03/27/2014 06:03 AM, Michael Rogers wrote:
>> In an online-encrypted document sharing model, for the 98%, this
>> would look like a document being OpenPGP-encrypted in javascript
>> with a symmetric key you choose, and stored online by the service.
>> The recipient visits the fileshare, using javascript
>> OpenPGP-decrypts the document using the password they received
>> out-of-band, and downloads it. For the 2%, they PGP-encrypt the
>> document using gpg, and upload it, communicate the secret out of
>> band, and the recipient decrypts it using javascript. Or, they
>> receive a document encrypted with javascript and download it and
>> PGP-decrypt it using gpg.  If you build the service correctly, the
>> service won't know ahead of time if the document is going to be
>> decrypted in javascript or gpg, and thus can't reliably attack the
>> user without a chance of detection.
> If I understand correctly, this would require signatures as OpenPGP
> doesn't provide MACs, and the public signature key would have to be
> shared out-of-band along with the password.

For the read-only document-sharing use case, you could stuff the public
signing key inside the encrypted body, in addition to the signed
cleartext.  There's no need for it to be out-of-band except for
bandwidth conservation, but a minimal OpenPGP certificate
(mainkey+uid+selfsig, or mainkey+uid+selfsig+signingsubkey+selfsig at
worst) isn't going to be too terribly large compared to most files.

for the read/write document-sharing case, you'd have two divergent
scenarios: one where each participant signs their new version of the
document with their signing key; and another where you've also
pre-shared a the secret part of a document-specific signing key with all


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