Does anyone have a link to a good, but short (1-2 paragraphs) explanation of the benefits of using GPG/PGP signing and encryption for Email focused at non-technical readers? That is, why would someone care about email being signed?

I've looked but all I ever find are deeply technical, jargon filled documents; perhaps my Google-fu is failing me.

  • 14
    Why was this downvoted? It is a computer related/technical question.
    – indyK1ng
    Commented Jul 31, 2009 at 3:45
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    Avoid asking questions that are subjective, argumentative, or require extended discussion. Commented Jul 31, 2009 at 3:48
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    I don't see how it is any of that, and it doesn't require discussion here.
    – jtimberman
    Commented Jul 31, 2009 at 3:56
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    You don't see how a question asking for an argument is argumentative? You don't see how asking for two paragraph answers will lead to extended discussions? You don't think the efficacy of PGP signatures and encryption for email is subjective? Commented Jul 31, 2009 at 4:00
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    Jeez, he's just asking for an external reference explaining the pros and cons of signing emails. No need to get your knickers in a twist over it :D
    – Babu
    Commented Jul 31, 2009 at 4:08

1 Answer 1


Why Use PGP? -- probably fits your size.

PGP is useful for two things: 1. Privacy and Security, and 2. Authenticity.
By privacy, I mean that you can prevent people from seeing things. For example, you can encrypt an email to someone, or encrypt a file with a list of passwords.
By Authenticity, I mean that you can ensure a message was sent/written by the person you think it was, and that it wasn't modified by a third party. Of course, these two can be combined.

Would also recommend -- GnuPG FAQ Advanced Topics for a quick read

HowTo and tutorial references afterwards,

Take your pick on a comfortable read.

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    Nice, first link "Why Use PGP" would have sufficed :-)
    – jtimberman
    Commented Jul 31, 2009 at 4:27
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    I think the other one from the same place (GPG Signing) is useful too.
    – nik
    Commented Jul 31, 2009 at 4:49
  • Its definitely a good followup, feels a bit more technical though.
    – jtimberman
    Commented Jul 31, 2009 at 5:51
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    Link rot have eaten two of the links, including the first one which now should be phildev.net/pgp/gpgwhy.html
    – Teddy
    Commented Mar 9, 2010 at 8:26
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    @Teddy, thanks for pointing that out. Have updated broken links.
    – nik
    Commented Mar 10, 2010 at 2:53

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