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A friend of mine signed my GPG key:

% gpg --list-sigs 0xAAAAAAAA
pub   4096R/AAAAAAAA 2011-03-14
uid                  Alice <>
sig 3        AAAAAAAA 2011-03-14  Alice <>
sig 2        BBBBBBBB 2011-10-21  Bob <>
sub   4096R/DDDDDDDD 2011-03-14
sig          AAAAAAAA 2011-03-14  Alice <>

Whenever I sign a key (using gpg --sign-key) sig instead of sig 2 appears. E.g.:

% gpg --list-sigs 
pub   2048R/BBBBBBBB 2011-07-10
uid                  Bob <>
sig 3        BBBBBBBB 2011-07-10  Bob <>
sig          AAAAAAAA 2011-10-21  Alice <>
sub   3072R/CCCCCCCC 2011-07-10
sig          BBBBBBBB 2011-07-10  Bob <>

What is the difference and how can I select between sig and sig 2?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

That's the certification level to indicate how carefully you verified the key owner's identity. Available levels are: 0: no indication; 1: personal belief but no verification, useful for signing pseudonymous IDs; 2: casual verification; 3: extensive verification.

Per default gpg doesn't ask for this and aways uses level 2. To use another level when signing a key use the switch --ask-cert-level either on command line or in your gpg.conf.

See here

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Thank you. I did not find --ask-cert-level when searching for this in the man page (looked everywhere for "sign[ing]"). Although according to the man page the default seems to be level 0, not level 2. – user34717 Oct 31 '13 at 16:05

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