Jon Udell: Slippery stuff

Jon Udell writes about some of the implications of digital identity — including why digitally signing “vague” email messages could later become a problem. More on the issue here.

All of this relates to the item below from the Boston Globe about email being used as evidence in various prosecutions. I’ve wondered for some time why there hasn’t been a defense argument advanced in one of these cases claiming that an email has been forged? Let’s hope it’s because the defendants haven’t wanted to go there — but the day will come when that will happen. It should be easy for defense counsel to demonstrate how simple it is to forge an unsigned email. It’d be much harder to claim that if the subject email was digitally signed by its author.

Should you be routinely digitally signing your email — given that it might at some point be taken out of context?

This also relates to spam. I’ve heard talk of using digitally signed messages as one way to deal with the increasing insanity of spam. With this approach, you’d only accept email which has been signed by your correspondents. An unintended consequence of this approach to spam filtering might be the “evidence” aspect later?

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