Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Firefox PGP Extension Idea

I’ve had an idea for a Firefox extension. It’s probably a bit niche but I’m sure some people would use it; myself included.
Basically, it would allow easy importing of PGP public keys on web sites to your keychain. It would analyse the page you are currently viewing to see if it can do anything, and if any keys are found, pop up an icon in the status bar, like with web feeds. Then, to import them, just click on the icon and it’ll run the PGP or GnuPG (or whatever) executable and import the key to your keychain.
All it would need to look for is something like this:

<link rel="pgpkey" type="application/pgp-keys" title="PGP public key" href="key.asc" />

Or this:

Version: PGP 8.1 - not licensed for commercial use:

[Load of garbage]

Not too difficult, non?
I’d do it myself but I wouldn’t really know where to start, and don’t have the time to learn XUL and whatnot.


  1. How often do you really find yourself with the need to pull a key from someone’s website?

  2. Well, not that often. But the process could be made quite a bit easier in my opinion and an extension could facilitate that.

  3. Sounds good. I often am too lazy to grab those keys off of people’s pages, this would make it an easier process.

  4. A similar effect can be achieved by installing LinkBar (not 1.5 compatible) and associating a script to add a key to your keyring (since Firefox can’t do sensible shellouts). It was quite cool being able to add a key within two clicks. Although discovering if a key (or anything else) is available is one click away.

  5. PGP Universal does that but is a server-centric approach (you upload your public keys to the server… each company has their own PGP-UN server).
    I heard Adobe is coming out with something similar as part of a major deal with Arcot.

  6. Couldn’t you just steal the code to Live Boookmarks and hack it?

  7. Sounds a neat idea … but then how long would it take to create the code and how much time would it save.