March 7, 2015 - Phil Hodgen

Communication Via Encrypted Email

Someone is trying to communicate with me via encrypted email right now. Sorry, but something is borked. I wish I could email you this stuff, but the best I can do is make a blog post that you will see.


Here’s the problem. Whatever email address you gave does not exist. I cannot reply to it. Your server bounces my messages with a 550 error:

Technical details of permanent failure:

Google tried to deliver your message, but it was rejected by the server for the recipient domain by [IP.IP.IP.IP].

The error that the other server returned was:

550 5.1.1 [EMAIL ADDRESS REDACTED]: Recipient address rejected: User unknown in local recipient table

How to send encrypted email to me (the hard way)

Go to, download the software, and install it on your Mac.

Go to the MIT key server and download my public key. GPGTools will do this for you.

Send me an encrypted email.

This is a PITA to set up but once you have it set up, you’re set. It’s easy.

How to send an encrypted email (the easier, softer way)

Go to Hushmail and set up a free account.

From your free account at Hushmail, email me at That domain is hosted at Hushmail, so you are sending encrypted email to me that is wholly on their servers.

Hushmail is less than perfectly secure. In fact, I don’t trust it at all against severe threats. But for most privacy threats it’s fine.

If that’s not good enough

If you can’t get PGP encrypted email going on your Mac, and if you don’t trust Hushmail — because the stakes, in your opinion, are too high — then we meet outside the borders of the US&A. We go offline. Set that up via Hushmail.