Phil Zimmermann

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Phil Zimmermann

Philip R. "Phil" Zimmermann Jr. (born February 12, 1954) is the creator of Pretty Good Privacy (PGP), the most widely used email encryption software in the world.


  • When privacy is outlawed, only outlaws will have privacy.
    • Why I Wrote PGP, Part of the original 1991 PGP User's Guide (updated in 1999)
  • At no time in the past century has public distrust of the government been so broadly distributed across the political spectrum, as it is today.
    • Why I Wrote PGP, Part of the original 1991 PGP User's Guide (updated in 1999)


  • Advances in technology will not permit the maintenance of the status quo, as far as privacy is concerned.
  • Some Americans don't understand why I should be this concerned about the power of government. But talking to people in Eastern Europe, you don't have to explain it to them. They already get it--and they don't understand why we don't.
  • Trying to stop this is like trying to legislate the tides and the weather.
  • Today, we live in a new world that has had two major breakthroughs that have an impact on this state of affairs. The first is the coming of the personal computer and the information age. The second breakthrough is public-key cryptography.
  • You don't have to distrust the government to want to use cryptography.

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