Encrypt or not to encrypt…

Funny I was just emailing about this very topic… I think I should get better acquainted with PGP again… easy enough to use with Mail as I recall with a plugin.

Personal encryption hasn’t taken off, experts say, because consumers don’t think it’s worth the trouble. “The real need for privacy hasn’t been demonstrated yet for consumer-to-consumer [e-mail],” says Jonathan Penn, a senior industry analyst at Giga Information Group.

Many free e-mail programs are targeting consumers, including 1on1mail, LokMail, PrivacyX.com and ZixMail. But the industry’s longtime darling has been Pretty Good Privacy, which nearly landed creator Phil Zimmermann in jail for violating export regulations. PGP, which Zimmermann sold to Network Associates in 1997, now boasts about 7 million users. Most of them, however, are “die-hard Phil fans and encryption gurus,” says Allison Taylor, PGP director of product marketing for Network Associates.

“Most people don’t care about encrypting their e-mail,” says Bruce Schneier, author of Applied Cryptography and CTO at Counterpane Internet Security. “You lock your front door now because you care. Your grandparents didn’t.” [CNN.com]

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