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

Volker Birk vb at
Wed Aug 26 12:03:33 UTC 2015


I'm new on this list. My name is Volker, I'm from the project pretty
Easy privacy, or in short pEp (p≡p).

We're working on a solution for end-to-end crypto which is 100%
peer-to-peer. We don't introduce new crypto, we're depending on GnuPG
(on iOS on NetPGP, which we forked for that case), on OTR and on GnuNET.
We're supporting S/MIME just for compatibility reasons, as well as plain
PGP (also for compatibility reasons).

The difference we make is that the user is not required to do anything
anymore. She or he just writes a message. The rest is done fully
automated, including key management, trust management and
synchronization of trust, keys, addresses and calendar events between
devices in a device group.

All is done peer-to-peer, there is no cloud. We start encrypting E-Mail,
and continue with XMPP, Facebook messages, SMS and some more. We'll also
introduce our own messaging channel based on GnuNet.

p≡p is itself 100% Free Software. We're supporting the message platforms
in their sequence of numbers of users. And therefore for us Thunderbird
is a strategic platform. We for sure will support Thunderbird in any way
we can.

Because we're downwards compatible to plain PGP – and even downwards
compatible to unencrypted mail without any user interference needed, we
have a plugin solution for messaging solutions of all kind. Our mission
statement is to make all messaging solutions (E-Mail, instant messaging,
SMS, etc.) capable of fully automated encryption.

We're driving a litte undercover for a year now ;-) While that, we
developed our first ready made solutions, which will be published on
October 1st. There are solutions for iOS, Android and Microsoft Outlook.
Additionally, we already have a deal with Kontact/Kolab. They will put
our solution as default in their client software.

You can find an English language lecture about p≡p here:

German language videos you can find here:

Our project status now is that we are close to first release. We found
enough funding to do the whole job we announced, and are additionally
capable to help other projects with funding. The first release will
support PGP, S/MIME and p≡p for Email first. The code will be reviewed
by SektionEins for not having backdoors or
security issues before we offer it. We will publish the code review
together with the first release, and each following release will be
published having a code review, too.

In our view, Enigmail earns a lot of trust, and we @p≡p are very
thankful to this great project. The reason for this view is, that we're
coming out of making crypto parties, and Thunderbird + Enigmail is the
standard we all use there.

Enigmail have lots of experience with integrating in Thunderbird. p≡p
can add value here: we fully automate the processes, so there is no
complicated key management any more needed for the users, and emails all
are encrypted automatically whenever possible.

So we want to try to cooperate with Enigmail here. I'm happy that we can
talk soon. Let's see if we find a way to improve crypto support in
Thunderbird in a fully automated way without complicated key management.
Additionally, p≡p will add other messaging standards, because p≡p
contains a message transport system, which can address way more than
just email.

A last “thank you” is needed here at the end:

Thank you all for keeping Thunderbird up and running! Thunderbird is not
only a great piece of software art, it's also a needed platform for
millions of users to have – including all users who want to encrypt
their messages. If we can support Thunderbird, we for sure will do!

Volker Birk, p≡p project
mailto:vb at
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