Secure Messaging? More Like Secure Mess

Monday, August 12, 2019 - 12:00 pm12:30 pm

Gennie Gebhart and Erica Portnoy, Electronic Frontier Foundation


There is no such thing as a perfect or one-size-fits-all messaging app. But people who build and maintain secure messengers have to start somewhere. In this talk, we’ll share our experience in the secure messaging space, what that has taught us about different group’s secure messaging needs, and how to balance those needs.

Gennie Gebhart, Electronic Frontier Foundation

Gennie conducts and manages research and advocacy for the Electronic Frontier Foundation on consumer privacy, surveillance, and security issues. Prior to joining EFF, Gennie earned a Master of Library and Information Science from the University of Washington Information School, where she published on Internet censorship in Thailand and zero-rating in Ghana, as well as investigating mobile access and technology terms in Myanmar (Burma) and public Internet access in Laos. While at the UW, she also co-founded and led a successful initiative for a university Open Access policy.

Erica Portnoy, Electronic Frontier Foundation

Erica Portnoy develops the Let's Encrypt client Certbot, which makes it easy for people who run websites to turn on https, keeping their users private and secure against network-based attackers. She writes and speaks about encryption in practice, including what people need from secure messaging providers and what the next generation of encryption in the cloud might look like. Erica has also worked on EFF's net neutrality project, writing technical filings and opinion pieces and organizing technologists from the networking industry to speak up for technical accuracy in policy decisions.

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@inproceedings {238170,
author = {Gennie Gebhart and Erica Portnoy},
title = {Secure Messaging? More Like Secure Mess},
booktitle = {2019 {USENIX} Conference on Privacy Engineering Practice and Respect ({PEPR} 19)},
year = {2019},
address = {Santa Clara, CA},
url = {},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = aug