Phil ZimmermannPhilip Zimmermann
(born February 12
) is the creator of Pretty Good Privacy
), the most widely used email encryption software in the world. He was the first to make usable asymmetric, or public key encryption
software easily available to the masses. This led US Customs to make him 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 on the Internet as free software. After the government dropped its case without indictment in early 1996, Zimmermann founded PGP Inc. That company was acquired by Network Associates Inc (NAI) in December 1997, where he stayed on for three years as Senior Fellow. In 2002 PGP was acquired from NAI by a new company called PGP Corporation, where Zimmermann now serves as special advisor and consultant. Zimmermann is also a Fellow at the Stanford Law School's Center for Internet and Society.
Zimmermann received numerous technical and humanitarian awards for his pioneering work in cryptography. In 2001 Zimmermann 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 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, and the 1995 Pioneer Award from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Time Magazine also named Zimmermann one of the "Net 50", the 50 most influential people on the Internet in 1995.