When PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) was published for free on the Internet in 1991, Phil Zimmermann became the target of a three-year criminal investigation, because the U.S. government held that export restrictions for cryptographic software were violated when PGP spread worldwide. We still find ourselves in a situation where we have to defend our right to use strong cryptography, in an age were the bad guys also have access to this technology. The right to strong crypto is still under political attack both in the U.S. and in Europe, where Trump, May and Macron have all demanded backdoors. But on the other hand, nation states appear to be exfiltrating information to influence elections, or worse, break into the election systems themselves. How will the second Crypto War play out, and how important is your right to strong crypto?
Dr. Phil Zimmermann is the creator of Pretty Good Privacy (PGP), the most widely used email encryption software in the world. He teaches Crypto at the faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science at Delft University of Technology.
The Bèta Balie is an initiative by several parties both on the TU Delft Campus and the city of Delft, with the aim to share knowledge and research with a wider audience and discuss the impact and implications for our society. This series on Cyber Security is organised in collaboration with the Cyber Security Group at Delft University of Technology.