2013-09-06 Crypto

Concerned by all the Snowden stuff? I am. I’ve had some friends use encrypted mail. Thanks!

I use GPG and you can download my public keys from a public keyserver. I’d be happy to keep our communications encrypted.

I’m also thinking of using the Raspberry Pi I got as a mail server. It would be always on. I think I’d like that. I recently found some instructions on how to do that in a German magazine (behind a paywall). Some alternative articles I’ll be reading later:

I really like what Bruce Schneier has to say. This, for example:

The NSA has turned the fabric of the internet into a vast surveillance platform, but they are not magical. They’re limited by the same economic realities as the rest of us, and our best defense is to make surveillance of us as expensive as possible.

Trust the math. Encryption is your friend. Use it well, and do your best to ensure that nothing can compromise it. That’s how you can remain secure even in the face of the NSA.

– Bruce Schneier, How to remain secure against NSA surveillance

By subverting the internet at every level to make it a vast, multi-layered and robust surveillance platform, the NSA has undermined a fundamental social contract. The companies that build and manage our internet infrastructure, the companies that create and sell us our hardware and software, or the companies that host our data: we can no longer trust them to be ethical internet stewards.

This is not the internet the world needs, or the internet its creators envisioned. We need to take it back.

And by we, I mean the engineering community.

– Bruce Schneier, The US government has betrayed the internet. We need to take it back

I remember when Richard Stallman started saying people should pay with cash, not credit and debit cards. I thought it was paranoid but cool. There was no need for me to follow suit.

I’ve been reducing my use of credit and debit cards in recent weeks.



So now I’m trying to convert the PiMAME SD card I have into a card suitable for the mail server. There is a lot of unnecessary stuff to remove. Right now I feel that debfoster is my friend.

I’ve setup Dovecot. It seems to work. I’ll need to write it up one day. I’m using my alex@gnu.org account to test it all. I’m already getting a lot of spam. Aaargh, that’s what Gmail is best at: spam filtering!

Reading mail within my WLAN works. Now I need to investigate FreeDNS.


Are you having an issues with mail being rejected? I’ve heard that if you run a mail server on a home Internet connection one could have this issue.

re: Swiss hosting (I saw your previous post): I recently opened an account with edis.at and choose a Swiss hosted VPS. So far so good.

Personally, I like the BeagleBone Black over the RPi, but something else you can do with the little guy is run a tor relay on it.

Josh 2013-09-24 22:16 UTC

I have no problems with mail getting rejected since I use a gnu.org SMTP server to send mail. For testing purposes and in order to get system stuff delivered, I have exim4 sending stuff—but I only ever send mail to my gnu.org account, so that’s hardly a test of my rejection rate.

As for servers: my problem is that the company has Austrian roots and therefore falls under EU and under Austrian jurisdiction, and the server falls under Swiss jurisdiction. Doesn’t that open you up to more privacy invasion? I’m not sure but that’s why I wanted to avoid them. Better to keep it all in the same jurisdiction.

A Tor relay is a noble idea but I remember there being a case in Germany with a guy being arrested because of a Tor server he was running. Sadly, my hesitation—and my wife’s hesitation—are an indication of the chilling effects already in effect.

AlexSchroeder 2013-09-25 07:13 UTC

I think I understand your setup now. I’ve heard some people running SpamAssassian on the Pi, which I think is GPLv2. I assume you are running Raspian?

re servers: Yeah, edis.at is not ideal. I was also looking for a pure swiss server. I had previously used hoststar.ch and it was fine for my tiny website and a mailing list. This time I wanted a VPS (to run a Tor relay) and edis.at came recommended. Did you pick a new hosting provider yet?

re tor: It sounds like he was running an exit node, although it doesn’t say. In the U.S. (at least for now...) it is believed you are ok running a non-exit relay [1]. I am not running an exit relay for these reasons.

[1] https://www.torproject.org/eff/tor-legal-faq.html.en

Josh 2013-09-25 13:02 UTC

Yeah, I’m running Raspian; and no, I haven’t picked a provider yet. I have talked it over with my wife, however. It’s just a matter of time, I think.

AlexSchroeder 2013-09-25 15:23 UTC

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