Daily Archives: Monday, December 30, 2013

  • Greens/EFA using Debian and encrypted email

    Debian logoJoinup reports that the European Parliament’s Greens/EFA Group has started trial use of laptops running a tailored version of the Debian GNU/Linux distribution and “is reaching out to the Free Software community”, in order to achieve trustworthy email encryption in moves to counter mass surveillance by companies and governments.

    In a press release, Greens/EFA co-president Rebecca Harms stated:

    “Thanks to Snowden we are beginning to understand the full scope of what it means to live in a digital environment polluted by pervasive surveillance. Commercial and governmental surveillance is undermining trust in our democratic institutions and corrupts the very fabric of democracy. This is now a global problem of such scale that each individual effort will fail, yet without taking small concrete steps from accepting where we are, no progress is possible. Therefore, the Greens/EFA is now reaching out to the Free Software community to join in a small project to use trustworthy email encryption in cooperation and dialogue with the European Parliament IT services.

    “As the Green Group in the European Parliament we want to make an effort to ensure that nobody but the intended recipient of an email can read it. Such emails need to be encrypted, travel over the internet, and then be decrypted on the receiving computer — and nowhere else. In this project, me and colleagues in the Greens/EFA will use a selection of Free Software from Debian and run it on computers dedicated for this purpose. We will start small scale with 10 regular consumer laptops. This is not special hardware running special software, but general computers running software available for everybody.”

    For secure email, a combination of the cryptographic software tools provided by GnuPG and the Icedove email client (a Debian-specific version of Mozilla Thunderbird) will be used as the European Parliament’s proprietary email solution cannot offer trustworthy encryption.