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Re: “Keyservers are actually useless these days and I wish they could go

From: Dmitry Alexandrov
Subject: Re: “Keyservers are actually useless these days and I wish they could go away”
Date: Wed, 17 Jul 2019 14:44:55 +0300
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/27.0.50 (gnu/linux)

Werner Koch <> wrote:
> Keyservers are actually useless these days and I wish they could go away.

An advocate of the ‘Web of Trust’ hardly agrees with that.  I am not the one, 
however I’m really intrigued — what do you suggest to use instead.

> Looking up key at a keyserver does not give you any indication that the key 
> belongs to the claimed mail address.

But they was never intended to do so, was they?  They are mean to reliably 
_publish_ your key, and they have been doing their job fairly well, as far as I 
can tell.  What might the substitute?  Bittorrent?  Blockchain?

> A validating key server tries to fix this by claiming authority to check the 
> mail.

That’s an interesting sociotechnical task, but the topical issue is not about 
verifying vs non-verifying.

I believe, nobody opposes to running a proprietary service for distributing 
keys, verifying or not, gratis or paid (yes, why not?).  Setting it as a 
default is what I see as a dubious act.

Moreover, I suppose, few would have anything against a default server that also 
optionally performs an email / SIP / GNU Social / whatever check, as long it’s 
not a walled garden like, that is detached from the de-facto 
standard network (that was SKS) and therefore breaks seamless compatibility 
between various GPG frontends and GPG-compatible clients.

Actually, if I am not mistaken, before the SKS-based WoT practically went out 
of operation after the DoS-attack, doing that did not require any changes 
neither in SKS, nor in GPG: a server could check the email and sign a key, and 
a frontend check its signature — that’s all.  Or am I mistaken?

> However, this gets us back into the X.509 centralized world.

But that does not, so long as no one is forbidden to run yet another verifier, 
connected to the common WoT.

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