Notes from MerriLUG, 15-March-2007, Matt Brodeur on PGP/GPG Encryption and key-signing

Nineteen attendees participated in the March meeting of the Merrimack Valley Linux User Group, MerriLUG, held as usual on the third Thursday of the month at Martha’s Exchange in Nashua, NH.

Matt Brodeur gave a presentation on GNU Privacy Guard, GPG, the Free/Open Source implementation of the Pretty Good Privacy algorithms and protocols. Matt pushed the presentation pretty quickly, as he wanted to ensure we had time for the keysigning, as well. Matt’s presentation is available from his website and that link, in turn is on the GNHLUG Wiki along with the announcements and instructions.

Following the presentation, Matt and Heather Brodeur organized the key-signing. Nearly a dozen of us had prepared and registered our PGP certificates in advance, and we read out-loud our identifying information, practicing our phonetic alphabet and confirming that I should have brought my reading glasses. Following that phase, we lined up in two queues and exchanged identification to confirm we had IDs that matched our names on the certificates. Heather was the caller for this slow-motion folk dance and kept us on task despite our urge to chat and socialize. An odd number of attendees and one additional volunteer made the sequence interesting, and we completed successfully.

Overall, I think the keysigning went quite well, by the number of signed keys I’ve received in the last week. I suspect we’ll have some feedback for Matt, too, on whether there might be some way we could make the follow-up key exchange easier. This was a lot of work, and I want to express my personal thanks to Matt and Heather for all the work. Thanks too, for all who attended and participated and asked questions, and thanks to Martha’s for providing the facilities.

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