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Re: [openpgp] Character encodings

2015-03-18 08:08:34
On Tue, Mar 17, 2015 at 11:48 PM, Peter Gutmann 

Phillip Hallam-Baker <phill(_at_)hallambaker(_dot_)com> writes:
On Tue, Mar 17, 2015 at 3:44 PM, Jon Callas <jon(_at_)callas(_dot_)org> 
One of the things that OpenPGP doesn't do very well that needs to be
is layering.
Just get rid of the notion of text. Make it be all binary. Push the
problem up a layer in the software stack -- they have to deal with it
anyway, and all OpenPGP can do is make it worse.


+2.  The rest of the world has made do with the existing infrastructure for
getting data from A to B, one way or another, without civilisation
PGP isn't a universal character-format translator, it's an encryption app,
should restrict itself to that.  Leave the character-set issues to other
layers where they belong.

(If all else fails, make the contents of the PGP message a MIME body like
S/MIME does, so the processing-flow is "MIME message" (S/MIME data) ->
implementing the crypto (in decoded, binary form) -> "MIME message"
(plaintext) back out to the mail app).

This makes it a lot easier for folk who have an S/MIME implementation to
add OpenPGP support. It is also the approach that has been debugged and is
known to work with legacy mail infrastructure.

One of the main challenges with end-to-end mail is Webmail which is now
used by most mail users. It is possible to get end-to-end to work with
webmail on the receiver side but it requires a mechanism that allows the
server to say 'here is an encrypted blob in format X, decrypt it with the
key you hold locally and present it to the user'. On the sender side you
need an editing widget that can be called out that will deliver the content
to be encrypted.

That is going to be easiest to get from the browser community if there is
least variation between the E2E email formats.
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