End to End Encryption odyssey

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I just want to tell my odyssey to find the 12 mnemonic words for the end to end encryption (E2EE). It can be tricky. With more than one client in use, you don’t have the information which client will tell you the E2EE “mnemonic”.

E2EE was activated just after updating to 19.0.2. Some clients were already set up and running on smartphones and computers. That’s why I had trouble to find the 12 keywords to set up the clients who need the words for E2EE setup.

You may wonder, but let me explain some things. And I guess, my setup isn’t that common, so excuse me for bothering you. I don’t have one computer, it’s 3 and two smartphones with a nextcloud client. And to make things even more troublesome, all the computers have removable hard drives to start from. I can choose to insert and start devuan, debian, ubuntu, … in different versions. Multiple clients in use (and online) for one account. Isn’t that what nextcloud is for?

As E2EE depends on encryption by first use, I have to know/remember which distro/disk was used/online when I first activated E2EE. I searched at 2 computers and 4 distros and found nothing. In the end it was an outdated client with version 2.6. that was online and chosen when I activated E2EE. The client update to v3.0.1 does the trick. After hours of searching the nextcloud settings showed the line “This account supports end-to-end Display mnemonic”. Up until that moment, I had NO information, which client was selected to set up the first use encryption for E2EE for my nextcloud account.

I do understand that it isn’t possible to show the E2EE “mnemonic” in the browser / setup. But it should be possible to show the client & computer that was used to set up the first use encryption. Just in case anyone does activate E2EE after using nextcloud for some time with a lot of clients in use.

In the end, it’s one question that baffles me: What happens after I purge / delete the client that was used to set up the E2EE for an account? Gone forever if you have not saved the E2EE “mnemonic” before?

Looks like I don’t like encryption by first use.

Nextcloud version : 19.0.2
Operating system and version : Debian 10
Apache or nginx version : Apache2 2.4.38
PHP version : 7.3.19

The issue you are facing: Finding the client that was chosen to set up E2EE first use encryption.

Is this the first time you’ve seen this error? (Y/N): Y

Steps to replicate it:

  1. Run nextcloud with at least two clients online and in use (for one account)
  2. Activate E2EE
  3. Identify the client that was chosen for E2EE setup