Philip R. Zimmermann is the creator of Pretty Good Privacy. (PGP) For that, he was the target of a three-year criminal investigation, because the government held that US export restrictions for cryptographic software were violated when PGP spread all around the world following its 1991 publication as freeware. 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, which was acquired by Network Associates in December 1997 and was sold again in 2002 to a new company called the PGP Corporation. Outside the business ventures, he also makes a living as a speaker and consultant.
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.
In 1999 he received the Louis Brandeis Award
from Privacy International, in 1998 a Lifetime Achievement Award
from Secure Computing Magazine, and in 1996 the Norbert Wiener Award
from Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility for promoting the responsible use of technology. He also received the 1995 Chrysler Award
for Innovation in Design, the 1995 Pioneer Award
from the Electronic Frontier Foundation
, the 1996 PC Week IT Excellence Award, and the 1996 Network Computing Well-Connected Award
for "Best Security Product." PGP
was selected by Information Week as one of the Top 10 Most Important Products of 1994. Newsweek Magazine also named Zimmermann one of the "Net 50", the 50 most influential people on the internet in 1995. He continues to pick up awards from all over the industry.
Zimmermann received his bachelor's degree in computer science from Florida Atlantic University in 1978. He is a member of the International Association of Cryptologic Research, the Association for Computing Machinery, and the League for Programming Freedom. He serves on the board of directors of Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility, and the Advisory Panel of Americans for Computer Privacy. He's a fellow at Stanford, heads the OpenPGP Alliance, and advises a number of other academic and scientific organisations.
Editor's note: e2 has Phil's permission to post this content, which is elaborated on at his web site, http://www.philzimmermann.com