Forwarded article.

Russell Earl Whitaker whitaker at
Wed Dec 23 16:03:21 PST 1992

This article was forwarded to you by whitaker at (Russell Earl Whitaker):

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From: twillis at (Tom Willis)
Subject: Attempt at a signing policy
Distribution: world
Organization: DGA Ltd
X-Mailer: Simple NEWS 1.90 (ka9q DIS 1.19)
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Date: Tue, 15 Dec 1992 23:46:16 +0000
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I would welcome any comments on the following, as a signing policy.
What do you think?


This is my policy for signing keys
(dated 12th December, 1992 1992-12-12)

- --Type bits/keyID   Date       User ID
- --pub  1024/6AD0D1 1992/10/24  Tom Willis <twillis at>
- --          Key fingerprint =  04 D7 B9 24 50 BE B2 30  BD 23 1A 98 B5 01 F1
- --                             Tom Willis <GBR55N55 at IBMMAIL>
- --                             Tom Willis
- --              </G=WilliTL/S=Willis/PRMD=IBMMAIL/ADMD=IBMX400/C=GB/>
- --                             Tom Willis <100042.446 at>
- --                             Tom Willis
- --              </CN=Tom Willis/OU=HQ/O=DGA+C=GB/@DGA at Notes>

- ------------

It is my intention that you should be able to trust my signature on  any
key that you see.  However, what you mean by trust and what I mean by it
may differ.   In overview, I  will only sign  keys that I  have received
directly from an individual  that claims to own  the key, and that  I am
confident does so.   My confidence is based  upon the policy I  maintain
for signing keys.

- ------

1.  I will only sign a key that I have received physically during a
    face-to-face meeting with the person claiming to own the key.

2.  I will only sign a key once the claimed key-owner has proved to
    me that they possess the secret key corresponding to the public
    key that they have given me.

3.  I will only  sign a key/ID  pair that I  believe identifies the
    person claiming to own the key.

4.  I do not  claim to have  verified that the  name the person  is
    using is  actually their  own legal  name; I  accept reasonable
    aliases/handles but require that I am confident that the person
    regularly uses the name given in public.

5.  I do not  claim to know  that the key  owner is trustworthy  in
    signing keys, and is not an agent provocateur.

The obvious ones:

6.  I will not allow my secret key and password to fall into anyone
    else's hands.

7.  If I find that my secret  key has been compromised, I shall  do
    my best to  distribute a compromise  certificate to anyone  who
    has received a key with my signature.

Notes on Policy
- ---------------

1.  I will accept keys  presented on paper or  electronically (e.g.
    on diskette), but the key  must have been handed over  during a
    personal meeting with the (claimed) key-owner.

2.  To satisfy me  that the claimed  owner actually *does*  possess
    the secret  key, they  must return  to me  a sequence  of bytes
    (chosen by me) signed with their secret key and encrypted  with
    my public key.

    For example,  if I  meet someone  I do  not know  well, and  we
    exchange keys, I will not sign their key until I have sent them
    a sequence of text bytes (e.g. an item in radix-64 form  signed
    by my key),  and they have  returned the same  item to me  in a
    message that is signed and  encrypted, and I have checked  that
    my  original   `challenge'  and   the  returned   response  are
    *identical*, and that the  message signature agrees with  their
    public key that I posssess.  (Otherwise, the physical  exchange
    could well prove nothing about the person involved except  they
    possess the public key of the person they are claiming to be.)

3.  My signature  says that  the key  and the  associated ID that I
    sign belong together, so  far as I can  tell.  In order  not to
    mislead you, I won't sign  key/ID pairs that look wrong  to me.
    For example, I wouldn't sign  even my own father's key,  if the
    ID  said  something  like  `President  of  the United States of
    America'; because he ain't (and I *know* that!).

    If my father's key  also had a (secondary)  ID on it that  gave
    his name as I know it, I *would* sign that association, even if
    another ID is clearly garbage.

4.  I would cheerfully  sign a key/ID  pair, even if  I *knew* that
    the ID was not the real ID of the owner, if it is a  reasonable
    ID.    For  example,  if  my  Mother  had a stage name, I would
    certainly sign her key with that ID; I would also sign her  key
    with her maiden name.  I wouldn't sign her key/ID where the  ID
    wasn't one  I had  ever heard  her use,  though.   Not even  my
    Mother, much as I trust her otherwise!

5.  My best  friend, known  since childhood,  may be  a gonzo  when
    dealing with security; I have no objection to signing his  key,
    but you should not assume  that says anything about whether  or
    not I would trust *his* signature myself!  (It's OK, mate, just
    joking, I trust you *really*...)

Version: 2.1


Tom \/\/illis   | 1. twillis at  | Have PGP 2.0 key
DGA Ltd         | 2. GBR55N55 at IBMMAIL           | ... will swap
LONDON UK       | 3. 100042.446 at  |

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