• 1954 February 12
    (b.) - ?


The creator of Pretty Good Privacy (PGP), the most widely used email encryption software in the world, he is also known for his work in VoIP encryption protocols, notably ZRTP and Zfone. He is currently the President and co-founder of the global encrypted communications firm, Silent Circle along with Mike Janke. Born in Camden, New Jersey, his father was a concrete mixer truck driver. He received a B.S. degree in Computer Science from Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida in 1978, and thereafter moved to the San Francisco Bay Area. In 1991, he wrote the popular Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) program, and made it available (together with its source code) through public FTP for download, the first widely available program implementing public-key cryptography. Shortly thereafter, it became available overseas via the Internet, though he has said he had no part in its distribution outside the US. The very first version of PGP included an encryption algorithm, BassOmatic, which he developed. After a report from RSA Data Security, Inc., which was in a licensing dispute with regard to use of the RSA algorithm in PGP, the United States Customs Service started a criminal investigation of him, for allegedly violating the Arms Export Control Act. The United States Government had long regarded cryptographic software as a munitions, and thus subject to arms trafficking export controls. At that time, the boundary between permitted ("low-strength") cryptography and impermissible ("high-strength") cryptography placed PGP well on the too-strong-to-export side (this boundary has since been relaxed). The investigation lasted three years, but was finally dropped without filing charges. After the government dropped its case without indictment in early 1996, he founded PGP Inc. and released an updated version of PGP and some additional related products. That company was acquired by Network Associates (NAI) in December 1997, and he stayed on for three years as a Senior Fellow. NAI decided to drop the product line and in 2002, PGP was acquired from NAI by a new company called PGP Corporation. He served as a special advisor and consultant to that firm until Symantec acquired PGP Corporation in 2010. He is also a fellow at the Stanford Law School's Center for Internet and Society. He was a principal designer of the cryptographic key agreement protocol (the "association model") for the Wireless USB standard. He has received numerous technical and humanitarian awards for his pioneering work in cryptography, which include: In 2012, he was inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame by the Internet Society; In 2008, PC World named one of the "Top 50 Tech Visionaries" of the last 50 years; In 2006, eWeek ranked PGP 9th in the 25 Most Influential and Innovative Products introduced since the invention of the PC in 1981; In 2003, Reason named him a "Hero of Freedom"; In 2001, he was inducted into the CRN Industry Hall of Fame; In 2000, InfoWorld named him one of the "Top 10 Innovators in E-business"; In 1999, he received the Louis Brandeis Award from Privacy International; In 1998, he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Secure Computing Magazine; In 1996, he received the Norbert Wiener Award for Social and Professional Responsibility for promoting the responsible use of technology; In 1995, he received the Chrysler Design Award for Innovation, and the Pioneer Award from the Electronic Frontier Foundation; and in 1995, Newsweek also named him one of the "Net 50", the 50 most influential people on the Internet. Simon Singh's The Code Book devotes an entire chapter to him and PGP. His publications include: ?The Official PGP User's Guide?, MIT Press, 1995 and ?PGP Source Code and Internals?, MIT Press, 1995.
  • Date of Birth:

    1954 February 12
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  • Noted For:

    Creator of Pretty Good Privacy (PGP), the most widely used email encryption software in the world
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