Re: Thunderbird and end-to-end email encryption – should this be a priority?

Joshua Cranmer 🐧 pidgeot18 at
Wed Aug 26 01:39:30 UTC 2015

On 8/25/2015 4:31 AM, R Kent James wrote:
> Should this be a focus for Thunderbird development?

I'm going to be a surprising voice and opine "no."

End-to-end email encryption is a very hard problem, one with no real 
clear solution. It is way too easy for us to overpromise and 
underdeliver in this regard, particularly with looming Mozilla disasters 
such as removal of XPCOM. We don't really have the technical expertise 
in our developer base to be able to propose any radical solutions, and 
we largely don't have the contacts or administrator knowledge to bring 
in other stakeholders for new proposed protocols.

That's not to say we should be doing nothing. There are pain points when 
using today's security UI that are well within our ability to fix (such 
as being able to search encrypted messages), and we should be receptive 
to ideas and experiments here (although implementing untested protocols 
in core Thunderbird is where I would draw the line).

Joshua Cranmer
Thunderbird and DXR developer
Source code archæologist

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