Email Encryption

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It is surprising easy to encrypt emails - and more and more it is demanded. Think not only about your needs. When you send personal data from participants in your project like addresses or motivation letters, are you really sure, that there is no implication for them?
An encripted email sent by an usual email-client like Thunderbird.

In the example to the right you see, how such a message is looking like for not authorised readers. It is a text-only message with encrypted information between the start and end tags for PGP.

How to use it?

From version 78 the popular open source email program Thunderbird includes Open PGP and S/MIME encryption technology. To use PGP encryption, you and your communication partner have to install both an encription program based on the standard PGP. PGP stands for 'pretty good privacy'. After installation you generate your personal key.

The idea: public and private keys

Every user of PGP has a private and a public key.




The public key is used by another person, that wants you to send a message for encrypting.


The private key should be kept secret: It is used only by you to decript encrypted messages of another person to you.

Key Management

Pgp3.jpg Pgp4.jpg

Nils-Eyk Zimmermann

Nils-Eyk Zimmermann

Editor of Competendo. Coordinator of the project DIGIT-AL Digital Transformation in Adult Learning for Active Citizenship. Secretary of the DARE network. Topics: active citizenship, civil society, digital transformation, non-formal and lifelong learning, capacity building. Blogs here: Blog: Civil Resilience. Email: