Market Street Pub
(Corner of S.W. 1st Ave & S.W. 2nd St - click for map)
1201 S.W. 1st Avenue
Gainesville, FL 32601
January 17, 2001
8:30pm to 9:00pm
The 'party' will start at 8:30pm and go until at least 9pm or so. We will
start the key-signing process promptly at 8:30pm. You may, of course, arrive
after 8:30pm, but some people may have already left by then.
What's a key-signing party?
A key-signing party is a get-together with PGP users for the purpose of
meeting other PGP users and signing each other's keys. This helps to
extend the "web of trust" to a great degree. Also, it sometimes serves as a
forum to discuss strong cryptography and related issues.
What do I need for this party?
- Physical attendance
- Positive picture ID
- Your Key ID, Key type, HEX fingerprint, and Key size
- A pen/pencil or whatever you'd like to write with....
- NO computer
- Generate a key/Remember your pass phrase
- All attendees send their public keys to a public keyserver. For this
party, we'll use keyserver.cryptnet.net. If for some reason you don't want
your key to be in a public keyserver, but still want to participate,
please let me know.
- All attendees send their key ID, key type, fingerprint, and key size to
the host, email@example.com,
who will compile everyone's key information.
- The host prints a list with everyone's key ID, key type, fingerprint,
and key size from the compiled keyrings and distributes copies of the
printout at the meeting.
- Attend the party. Bring along a paper copy of your key ID, key type,
fingerprint, and key size that you obtained from your own keyring. You
must also bring along a suitable photo ID. Instruct the attendees at the
beginning that they are to make two marks on the listing, one for correct
key information (key ID, key type, fingerprint, and key size) and one if
the ID check is ok.
- At the meeting each key owner reads his key ID, key type, fingerprint,
key size, and user ID from his own printout, not from the distributed
listing. This is because there could be an error, intended or not, on the
listing. This is also the time to tell which ID's to sign or not. If the key
information matches your printout then place a check-mark by the key.
- After everyone has read his key ID information, have all attendees form a line.
- The first person walks down the line having every person check his ID.
- The second person follows immediately behind the first person and so on.
- If you are satisfied that the person is who they say they are, and
that the key on the printout is theirs, you place another check-mark
next to their key on your printout.
- Once the first person cycles back around to the front of the line he
has checked all the other IDs and his ID has been checked by all others.
- After everybody has identified himself or herself the formal part of
the meeting is over. You are free to leave or to stay and discuss
matters of PGP and privacy (or anything else) with fellow PGP users. If
everyone is punctual the formal part of the evening should take less than
- After confirming that the key information on the key server matches the
printout that you have checked, sign the appropriate keys. Keys can only
be signed if they have two check-marks.
- Send the signed keys back to the keyservers.
- Use those keys as often as possible.
Why shouldn't I bring a computer?
There are a variety of reasons, why you don't want to do this. The short
answer is it would be insecure, unsafe, and of no benefit. For those not
convinced, here are some reasons why it is insecure, unsafe, and of no
- Someone might have modified the computers programs, operating system, or hardware to steal or modify keys.
- If people are swapping disks with their keys on them the computer owner has to worry about viruses.
- If people are carrying their secret keys with them and intend to do
the signing at the actual meeting by typing their passphrase into a
computer, then they are open to key-logging attacks, shoulder-surfing, etc.
- It is much better to just exchange key details and verify ID and then do the signing when you get home to your own trusted computer.
- Someone might spill beer on it.
- Someone might drop it or knock it off the table.
- More reasons, I don't feel like articulating
Other questions about signing keys?
want to read the Keysigning Party Howto which includes
an explanation of the concepts behind keysigning, instructions for hosting a keysigning party, instructions for
participating in a keysinging party, and step by step instructions for signing other's keys.
If you're looking for quick answers you may want to look to the questions and answers below, which all come from the PGP FAQ. It also has a lot of
other good information, besides what is linked to below.
Other useful PGP links
A few more links for PGP newbies, or those who wish to re acquaint
What if I still have a question?
If you'd like some help answering it, you can contact the event
coordinator, V. Alex Brennen via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.