Much easier Email crypto, by fetching pubkey via HTTPS
How does it work?
As an email user, you just select the recipient(s) and can see that the email will be encrypted.
If you and your peers use email-providers offering this "web key service", it works by the first email. Otherwise encryption will start after you have exchanged some emails.
Technically your email client will automatically
- prepare for this by creating a crypto key for you and uploading it to your provider (or second best to public keyservers).
- sign all emails so others see that you are ready for crypto (unless you opt out)
- ask the mail provider of your recipients for their pubkeys.
An email-provider wanting to support privacy can
- provide a pubkey for users via HTTPS, called "web key directory" (WKD).
- allow each user's email client to automatically manage the pubkey that gets published by email, called "web key service" (WKS).
Details / Discussion
Pubkey Distribution Concept <- the (technical) details
- 2016-09-08 OpenPGP.conf presentation by Werner Koch: Abstract Slides.PDF
- 2016-09-08 OpenPGP.conf presentation by Bernhard Reiter, pages 21-24 Slides.ODP Slides.PDF
- 2016-09-09 OpenPGP-Schlüssel über HTTPS verteilen Golem news by Hanno Böck
- 2016-09-11 Spezifikation für die Verteilung von OpenPGP-Keys per HTTPS veröffentlicht Heise news by Johannes Merkert
- 2016-09-11 Anmerkungen zum Web Key Service gnupg-de@ by Werner Koch
- 2016-10-05 Draft 02 of the specs published (see details page linked above).
The elaborated proposal is a result of the EasyGpg2016 contract.
Current GnuPG 2.2
- WKD lookup since v2.1.12, enabled by default since 2.1.23. Widespread rollout in 2017 because the old GnuPG 2.0 is scheduled end-of-life December 2017.
- WKS server and client tools since GnuPG v2.1.14, see how to run them in GnuPG's blog from 2016-08-30 or the Web Key Service page. 1
Mail User Agents
Automatic pubkey bootstrapping (using the Web Key Service)
- basic (pre-release) Kontact Mail/KMail support (part of EasyGpg2016)
- basic (pre-release) Thunderbird/Enigmail support (part of EasyGpg2016)
- active consideration in planning for mutt
- active consideration in planning for GpgOL (Gpg4win's Outlook Plugin)
Mail Service Providers
- Posteo offers web key directory lookup and service. (Since 2016-12)
- (gnupg.org) Testing accounts by request for developers implementing WKS in Free Software MUAs.