Phil Zimmermann

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Phil Zimmermann
Phil Zimmermann

Philip R. Zimmermann is the creator of Pretty Good Privacy, an email encryption software package. Originally designed as a human rights tool, PGP was published for free on the Internet in 1991. This made Zimmermann the target of a three-year criminal investigation, because the government held that US export restrictions for cryptographic software were violated when PGP spread worldwide. Despite the lack of funding, the lack of any paid staff, the lack of a company to stand behind it, and despite government persecution, PGP nonetheless became the most widely used email encryption software in the world. After the government dropped its case in early 1996, Zimmermann founded PGP Inc. That company was acquired by Network Associates Inc (NAI) in December 1997, where he stayed on for three years as Senior Fellow. In August 2002 PGP was acquired from NAI by a new company called PGP Corporation, where Zimmermann now serves as special advisor and consultant. Zimmermann currently is consulting for a number of companies and industry organizations on matters cryptographic, and is also a Fellow at the Stanford Law School's Center for Internet and Society.

Before founding PGP Inc, Zimmermann was a software engineer with more than 20 years of experience, specializing in cryptography and data security, data communications, and real-time embedded systems. His interest in the political side of cryptography grew out of his background in military policy issues.

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