Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) is a computer program, developed by Philip Zimmerman, that uses cryptography to protect files and electronic mail from being read by others. It can also be used to send an encrypted digital signature that lets the receiver verify the sender's identity and know that the message was not changed en route. It is now owned by Symantec.
When PGP was released, it
|“||was a milestone in the development of public cryptography. For the first time, military-grade cryptography was available to the public, a level of security so high that even the ultra-secret code-breaking computers at the National Security Agency could not decipher the encrypted messages.||”|
When someone released a copy of PGP on the Internet, it proliferated, sparking a federal investigation into whether Zimmerman was illegally exporting cryptographic software (then considered a form of "munitions" under the U.S. export regulations) without a specific munitions export license. Ultimately the case was resolved without an indictment.
- ↑ Ronald J. Stay, "Cryptic Controversy: U.S. Government Restrictions on Cryptography Exports and the Plight of Philip Zimmermann," 13 Georgia St. Univ. L. Rev. 58 (1997) (full-text).