Past Meetup

Wes Chow on "Off-the-Record Communication, or, Why Not To Use PGP"

This Meetup is past

152 people went

Two Sigma

101 Ave. of the Americas, 23rd Fl. J · New York

How to find us

Cross Streets: Watt and Grand. Note: Please make sure you’re signed-up for the meetup, including your first and last name. Without this info you won’t be allowed into the building by security.

Location image of event venue


We're happy to be hosting Wes Chow, CTO of Chartbeat (, who'll be presenting on Off-the-Record Communication, or, Why Not To Use PGP ( by Borisov, Goldberg, and Brewer.


Your intrepid reporter goes to a private location and meets with a key source who wishes to remain anonymous and off the record. The reporter understands that all information she learns from the source must be validated elsewhere and not directly quoted (private), that the source is who he says he is (authenticated), and that should their conversation become public they could both plausibly deny having said any of the recorded words (repudiable). How do we construct a digital version of an IRL meeting?

Nikita Borisov, Ian Goldberg, and Eric Brewer devise a communication protocol in Off-the-Record Communication, or Why Not To Use PGP that provides all of the above mentioned properties, as well as forward-secrecy (breaking the encryption on one message doesn’t give an attacker keys to past or future messages). Wes will review the OTR protocol and its clever collection of strong and purposefully weak cryptographic techniques that form the basis of the Signal ( private messaging app.


Wes Chow (@weschow ( has a B.S. in Electrical Engineering & Computer Science from UC Berkeley. He spent eight years building technical infrastructure for high frequency trading shops. One day, he stared into his dark soul and realized he needed to move into the startup light. Thus S7 Labs sprang into being, and he led teams that built Storybox, a Seedcamp NY finalist, and Songza Radio, subsumed by Google Music. He's now at Chartbeat serving out his term as CTO.


TwoSigma ( - Platinum Sponsor of the New York chapter



Doors open at 7 pm; the presentations will begin at 7:30 pm; and, yes, there will be refreshments of all kinds and pizza.

A little different than previous PWLs, you'll have to check-in with security with your Name/ID. Definitely sign-up if you’re going to attend–unfortunately people whose names aren’t entered into the security system in advance won’t be allowed in.

After Wes's presentation, we will open up the floor to discussion and questions.

We hope that you'll read some of the papers and references before the meetup, but don't stress if you can't. If you have any questions, thoughts, or related information, please visit #pwlnyc ( on slack (, our GitHub repository (, or add to the discussion on this event's thread.

Additionally, if you have any papers you want to add to the repository above (papers that you love!), please send us a pull request ( Also, if you have any ideas/questions about this meetup or the Papers-We-Love org, just open up an issue.