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Cryptography, Technology, Privacy: Philip Zimmermann, Inventor of PGP
Philip R. Zimmermann, technology visionary and internet folk hero, says “it is sometimes better to take direct action to change unjust laws”. He is an encryption guru and privacy innovator who has made huge personal sacrifices to create technology that protects people around the world. Phil 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.
Phil has recently focused on launching a secure VoIP protocol that allows people to make encrypted phone calls over the internet. He will discuss why encrypted phone calls are the next evolution in privacy, why easily wiretapped, unsecure VoIP is bad for society and good for organized crime, and how a secure VoIP protocol will protect the criminal justice system. Other topics include the effects of pervasive surveillance technology on democratic institutions and the future of consumer authentication.