PgP Chat

One of my old bosses, of whom I am fond, is off on another startup venture. I think startups are like chasing rainbows for gold. Anyway, I was asking another individual about it. Apparently, people work for no money in the hope of getting cash from venute capitalists. It’s nice to know that some thigns never change. I was so tickled by this, that I inquired further about what the company is doing.
They’re making software so that companies can spy on their employees instant messenger, ICQ, AIM, etc conversations.
Venture capitalists are very excited. Now, there is buisiness around in the valley, but it’s all like this. Everything profitable is related to homeland security somehow. Everybody wants to get rich by spying on everybody else. Obviously, this is no more sustainable than the last “new economy.” I think this iteration of struggling startips ought to be called the “big brother economy.” Partly because of all the spying. Partly because the economy stinks.
Well, this is far from the free-spirited adventurism I used to expect from this guy. You can’t go home again, as they say. Anyway, what is needed is PGP chat. PGP stands for Pretty Good Privacy. It’s a form of encryption where things are encrypted with somebody’s public key, but they can only be decrypted wit that person’s private key. So you can share your public key with the world and people can use it to send message which only you can read. Don’t ask me how this works, I have no idea. But it’s well suited to chat applications, since you can have secure conversations with anybody else who has PGP. So either Yahoo, AOL and microsoft need to add PGP to their applications, or a third-party product, like Fire, needs to add it. Fire is cool because it can communicate with all of the popular chat networks. One application signs you into Yahoo, AOL, etc. this application could add a PGP encyption layer, so that other users f Fire could have secure chats over existing networks. If your boss wants to spy on your AIM conversations, obviously, the AIM port is open. So use the existing protocol for the existing port, but encrypt all the messages.
someone else gets to write this, but here’s an idea that will make you no money. VCs are not excited about non-big brother projects. Sorry. Maybe your boss would just shut down all AIM if you encrypt it. In my mind, it’s better to lose all AIM rather than be spyed on. My old boss’ product must obsoleted before it gets out in the world and makes trouble. Anyway, anyone who wonders why I would give up a career in programming to do music, here’s your answer. The hands that hold the computer purse strings are evil and I want none of it. Somebody come tell me when the anarchosocialist economy takes over.

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Charles Céleste Hutchins

Supercolliding since 2003

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