June 24, 2021


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PGP Turns 30

PGP Turns 30

prz writes: PGP just hit its 30th birthday. Before 1991, the average person had essentially no tools to communicate securely over long distances. That changed with PGP, which sparked the Crypto Wars of the 1990s. “Here we are, three decades later, and strong crypto is everywhere,” writes PGP developer Phil Zimmermann in a blog post. “What was glamorous in the 1990s is now mundane. So much has changed in those decades. That’s a long time in dog years and technology years. My own work shifted to end-to-end secure telephony and text messaging. We now have ubiquitous strong crypto in our browsers, in VPNs, in e-commerce and banking apps, in IoT products, in disk encryption, in the TOR network, in cryptocurrencies. And in a resurgence of implementations of the OpenPGP protocol. It would seem impossible to put this toothpaste back in the tube.”

He continues: “Yet, we now see a number of governments trying to do exactly that. Pushing back against end-to-end encryption. […] The need for protecting our right to a private conversation has never been stronger. Many democracies are sliding into populist autocracies. Ordinary citizens and grassroots political opposition groups need to protect themselves against these emerging autocracies as best as they can. If an autocracy inherits or builds a pervasive surveillance infrastructure, it becomes nearly impossible for political opposition to organize, as we can see in China. Secure communications is necessary for grassroots political opposition in those societies.”

“It’s not only personal freedom at stake. It’s national security,” says Zimmermann. “We must push back hard in policy space to preserve the right to end-end encryption.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.