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Philip Zimmerman Zimmerman, Philip

Philip Zimmerman is a cryptography expert who developed the main e-mail protection software called Pretty Good Privacy (PGP).

Zimmerman was a working class, sci-fi addict who majored in computers at Florida Atlantic University in 1978, specialising in software design and data encryption.

At the time the U.S. Government was trying to control encryption, but Zimmerman, a strong peace activist, thought everyone had the right to privacy. He'd already been jailed during an anti-nuclear demo, so he focused on direct action. The result was to develop PGP.

Zimmerman offered his software - to make it as widely available as possible - in 1991. Two years later his troubles really started, when he was subjected to a three-year government investigation for violating export laws on cryptographic software.

Luckily they dropped the case and Zimmerman set up PGP develop further programs.
The company was later bought by Network Associates, where he worked for three years, before becoming an independant cryptographic consultant.

fun and games

Can you beat our games? Explode equipment to see what's inside, hear the changing sounds of telecommunications, see how telecommunications designs have changed over time or send an e-postacard.

what's on

The UK's first permanent gallery dedicated to the history of information and communication technologies opens in the new Information Age gallery at London’s Science Museum.

audio history

Take a trip down memory lane with extracts of the interviews which have been recorded as part of the Connected Earth oral history programme.

featured story

100 years of automatic switching!
In 1912 the GPO installed Britain's first automatic telephone exchange in Epsom.

Discover the early days of the telephone...