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[liberationtech] A guide to Email Self-Defense, from the Free Software Foundation

Axel Simon axelsimon at
Fri Jun 6 02:13:29 PDT 2014

On 06/06/14 06:36, Nick wrote:
> Hi Zak,
> Quoth Zak Rogoff: 
>> We just released this guide to GnuPG with Enigmail and are quite happy
>> with it. Thanks to all of you who gave feedback on the draft. More is
>> welcome :).
> This looks really great, good job! I haven't found a guide that's 
> anywhere near this approachable for people scared of technology, and 
> the infographic is also ace.
> One thing that confuses me is that you say "your email program" 
> without, as far as I can see, mentioning that it's thunderbird 
> specific. If people use outlook, they aren't going to get far.  
> "Download and install thunderbird if you don't already have it" 
> seems like a reasonable step 0 to me.
> Nick


While I really like the idea and find it great to see the FSF doing this
kind of work, I have to say I have a few issues with this guide.

First, it tells you to “set up your email program” as if this was
obvious. Might I remind you that many, many people now only know email
as a webapp?
Also, it tells about Thunderbird but doesn't even link to it. Why?
The least we can do is tell people where to get this fancy software
we're trying to get them to install on their computers.

Section 3 with Adele was confusing to me. Maybe I was simply expecting
the actual address to which the encrypted test email is being sent to be
brought up in the first paragraph, given that I could see where this bit
of the guide was going.
Maybe explain “In this step, we will send a test email to a friendly
robot (adele-en at to check encryption is working properly. This
is a special step that you won't have to do when corresponding with real

Here in particular (and in general), I think this guide needs more
newlines/carriage returns and bullet points as it makes it easier to
follow the steps, ie:
- In your email program's menu, go to OpenPGP → Key Management. You
should see your key in the list that pops up.
- Right click on your key and select Send Public Keys by Email. This
will create a new draft message, as if you had just hit the Write button.
- Address the message to adele-en at Put at least one word
(whatever you want) in the subject and body of the email, then hit send.

Anyway, I'll stop for now, I hope this helps.

Thanks for the work!



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