The Easy KeySigning Party Protocol


Eerste Tilburgse PGP Keysing Party 2005

This document describes the EZKSP Easy KeySigning Party Protocol. You might want to read it if you're planning to organise a PGP keysigning party.


The Easy KeySigning Party Protocol is a method to run a PGP Keysigning Party. Its main difference with other keysigning party protocols is: there is no need for attendees to perform checksum calculations. Therefore, people lacking the ability to do stuff like running md5sum(1) or sha1sum(1) are not excluded from participating.

Furthermore, more and more keysigning parties are attended by people less experienced with IT. I've attended parties where the speaker failed to clarify the procedure to all attendees, likely due to failure in estimating the amount of clue of the audience. Such troubles are less likely to occur at an EZKSP party. (If a very good speaker is present, you still might succeed and have a very nice large-scale Sassaman/Zimmermann-style party.)

So: EZKSP might be suitable for the audience at your particular party too.

The idea is actually almost trivial: Use a long table without chairs, and have the attendees walk around it, verifying the identity and exchanging keyslips pairswise with the person in front of them. It even allows for latecomers to join in during the event.

When announcing the party, be sure to instruct the attendees to bring a suitably big pile of keyslips with them.


The EZKSP protocol was used by the 22 participants of the Eerste Tilburgse PGP Keysigning Party 2005. Guus has published some pictures.

It was used at the Tweede Tilburgse PGP Keysigning Party 2005 at the TOSti Tilburg Prologic Prologue Event, may 2005. There is a picture and another picture.

It was used by the about 30 participants at the Utrecht Keysigning Party, june 28, 2005 which was organised by Henk Penning e.a. There have been taken some pictures.

The What The Hack keysigning on july 30, 2005 was more like a mixed EZKSP - Sassaman/Zimmermann party. I estimate the number of attendants at about 50.

It was used by the about 10 participants at the keysigning party at the Software Freedom Day 2005 at TOSti Tilburg, september 2005.

It was used by the about 10 participants at the keysigning party at the Linux Bijeenkomst 2005 by NedLinux e.a. in Tiel, The Netherlands, october 2005.

It was used by the about 25 participants at the keysigning party at the PGP Keysigning Party at SANE 2006's Free Software Bazaar, wednesday 2006-05-17, TU Delft, The Netherlands. Organised by the author and Folkert van Heusden.

It was used at Flemming Jacobsen's keysigning BOF at, 2006-07-26, Danmark. (At least, I believe so. My danish is not that good...)

It was used by the 19 participants at the Lithuanian KeySigning Party at "Programmers of Vilnius" company office, Vilnius, Lithuania, on 2006-08-14; organised by Albertas Agejevas, Kęstutis Biliūnas and Marius Gedminas.

(For the 5 participants at the 2006-08-18 KSP at Linux Bier Wanderung 2006 in Paluse, Lithuania EZKSP would have been overkill.)

It was used by the 12 participants at the Derde Tilburgse PGP Keysigningparty at Tilburg University, 2006-10-27 in The Netherlands.

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Joost van Baal

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