Salon has an article on GnuPG, a relatively new open source version of the venerable PGP public key encryption package. I’ve entertained a longstanding fascination with PGP, having used it since not long after it came out. Unfortunately, I’ve lost all of the public keys that I’ve generated, and I’ve never been religious about using it or distributing my public key. These days, even if I had my old keyrings I wouldn’t be able to remember the passphrases. I think the fundamental problem is that use of encryption has not yet reached the tipping point — there aren’t enough people using it to make adoption of it widespread. I see people using digital signatures to sign their mail every now and then, but I’ve never bothered to verify any of the signatures, because most email correspondence is too trivial to worry about it. In my opinion, digitally signing your email is a signal that you’re a big geek (in a good way), although I imagine that the people who do it are in it for the principle of the thing.