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Securely backing up GPG private keys… to the cloud?

Joey Hess

Imagine a world in which GnuPG was not hard to use, and was used widely: users exchange encrypted email, gpg signed comments on websites, make encrypted backups, and so on. What happens, in that world, when a user's gpg private key gets deleted? The only backup is encrypted with the lost private key. Catch 22. We're not in that world, and so we don't often worry about this problem, but solving the gpg key backup problem seems a necessary step in the path toward that world. Keysafe is an attempt at taking that step, backing up to the cloud. Can this possibly be secure? Come and find out.


5 years, 8 months ago

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LibrePlanet 2017 video · LibrePlanet 2017 · LibrePlanet · lp2017 · video

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LibrePlanet 2017 Videos (libreplanet)


CC BY-SA 4.0


This talk was presented at LibrePlanet.


LibrePlanet is the Free Software Foundation's annual conference. The FSF campaigns for free/libre software, meaning it respects users' freedom and community. We believe that users are entitled to this; all software should be free.


We do not advocate "open source".

That term was coined to reject our views. It refers to similar practices, but usually presented solely as advantageous, without talking of right and wrong.


Richard Stallman launched the free software movement in 1983 by announcing development of the free operating system, GNU. By 1992, GNU was nearly operational; one major essential component was lacking, the kernel.


In 1992, Torvalds freed the kernel Linux, which filled the last gap in GNU. Since then, the combined GNU/Linux system has run in millions of computers. Nowadays you can buy a new computer with a totally free GNU/Linux system preinstalled.


The views of the speaker may not represent the Free Software Foundation. The Foundation supports the free software cause and freedom to share, and basic freedoms in the digital domain, but has no position on other political issues.