Digital world creates the situation where there are no secrets anymore.

 

 

 

Pretty Good Privacy, commonly known as PGP, is a user-friendly computer application used to  encrypt e-mail correspondence. PGP can also be used to include an encrypted digital signature to an e-mail message without encrypting the message. PGP is the most widely used encryption software  for e-mail correspondence worldwide.

 Pretty Good Privacy was the creation of Phillip  Zimmerman who, in 1984, first conceived of the  idea of a widely available, cost-free, open source computer program that ordinary people could use  to send and receive e-mail correspondence that  could not be read by others.

According to Zimmerman, his concept for PGP relied on a programming “breakthrough” that had occurred more than a decade before, involving the most essential(and most vulnerable) element in any secret   communication scheme: turning plain text into coded text, and vice versa. Thus, if a user wished to send someone else an encrypted message, he  or she had to give the recipient the necessary key to unlock the encryption code. The challenge was to develop a protocol to send the encryption key  so that it could not be intercepted and thus make  secret communications not so secret.

Zimmerman pondered the question of how to  exchange encryption keys over a period of years,  developing PGP’s complex algorithms in the limited free time he had available between parenting  and engaging in freelance work. It was not until a clause introduced by U.S. Congress in a proposed  anti-terrorism bill that Zimmerman threw himself into the task of completing PGP and making it available to anyone who wished to use it.

Zimmerman  first uploaded the source code to PGP into a USENET newsgroup in June 1991, and invited people to use it for free. Shortly thereafter, PGP was used by human rights activists in what, at the time, was the intensely conflict-ridden region of the Yugoslav successor states, most notably in Kosovo, Sarajevo, and Croatia. It was also used in the early 1990s in volatile states including,but certainly not limited to, Guatemala.

There,in 1992, Dr. Patrick Ball collaborated with the International Center for Human Rights Research in Guatemala (CIIDH) to develop a database of more than 43,000 human rights violations that he protected from the authorities through PGP encryption.

The Impact of PGP

At the time of the release of PGP, Zimmerman argued the encryption software “dramatically changed the security landscape.” Zimmerman noted, “Before PGP, there was no way for two ordinary people to communicate over long distances without the risk of interception. Not by phone, not by FedEx, not by fax.” Users, ranging from human rights defenders to students, wrote to Zimmerman to report that he only thing standing between them and oppressive regimes was his technology.

Zimmermann was promptly “considered the Godfather of encryption software,” according to the New York Times. Such wide attention had a downside for Zimmerman; shortly after its release, PGP came to the attention of the U.S.

National Security Administration (NSA), the government body that oversees all issues pertaining to encryption. The NSA informed Zimmerman in February 1993 that he was being  investigated for violating U.S. export control laws. Because the U.S. government considered encryption software weaponry at the time, PGP was restricted for export under a munitions clause of import/export.

 Interestingly, while at the time, it was illegal to transport PGP on a (then commonly used) floppy disk or computer hard drive, it was possible to carry a printout of the million or so lines of Zimmerman’s computer code that instructed the functionality of PGP.

The NSA eventually dropped the charges in January 1996, after which Zimmerman founded the commercial startup PGP Inc., which was purchased by Network Associates in 1997.

 Zimmerman’s prediction in 2000, that “We’ll be accessing the Internet all the time, which means a dramatic increase in security requirements,” eventually led him to a partnership with former U.S. Navy Seals security expert Mike Janke and their start-up, Silent Circle, a security firm that encrypts phone calls, texts, and video calls. Silent Circle reported a 400 percent increase in new customers after the 2013 disclosures about the National Security Agency’s surveillance efforts.

 

 

Do not fear Digital world , it will not kill us  all.

 

 

 

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