1993-10-03 - Zimmermann’s PGP: “A Cure for the Common Code” (fixed)

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From: an12070@anon.penet.fi (S. Boxx)
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Message Hash: df43db77ea7cf02d87a028bb383e70d989cb28034c224e860937604cb9738c6a
Message ID: <9310030322.AA13552@anon.penet.fi>
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UTC Datetime: 1993-10-03 03:24:27 UTC
Raw Date: Sat, 2 Oct 93 20:24:27 PDT

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From: an12070@anon.penet.fi (S. Boxx)
Date: Sat, 2 Oct 93 20:24:27 PDT
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Subject: Zimmermann's PGP: "A Cure for the Common Code" (fixed)
Message-ID: <9310030322.AA13552@anon.penet.fi>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

Denver Westword, Vol. 17 Number 5, Sept. 29 1993

<sigh> I've been thwarted by anon.penet.fi and the two characters
'--' at least FIVE times today. better than losing anonymity though!

The complete version *should* appear in


the initial cypherpunk and talk.politics.crypto versions are missing the 
following closing paragraphs. also the cypherpunk version did not credit 


Despite the notoriety and acclaim Pretty Good Privacy has brought him,
Zimmermann admits he is not entirely comfortable with some of the
popular reaction to his software. "PGP tends to attract fringe elements-
- radicals, conspiracy theorists and so on-- and I'm a little
embarrassed by it," he says.

For instance, Zimmermann says he recently received a packet of fan mail
from a group of people whose obsession is cryogenics-- the notion that
newly dead people ought to be frozen until the technology that can
revive them is developed. While the group seemed enthusiastic about PGP,
Zimmermann says their recognition did little for his ego. "I don't want
to be admired by people who are loonies," he says.

He also concedes that, despite what law enforcement officers say about
him being irresponsible for publishing PGP he is trouble by people who
use the software for unsavory purposes. The William Steen case, for
instance, unnerved him. "This is not a black-and-white issue to me,"
Zimmermann says. "The thought of a child molester out there using PGP
does keep me up at nights. I think the benefits will outweigh the cost
to society, though."

Despite his misgivings about it, after nearly two years Pretty Good
Privacy may be paying off for Zimmermann. Not only is his software
consulting business hopping ("If you're a consultant , you get more work
as a famous consultant"), but four weeks ago he finalized the deal with
ViaCrypt to sell a version of PGP. The Arizona company has purchased a
license from RSA Data Security to use its algorithms. So in theory,
anyway, Zimmermann should be out of reach of RSA's patent-infringement

In the meantime, Zimmermann says he simply is pleased to have gotten a
rise out of the government. "In the nuclear freeze movement, it was like
I was a flea on the back of a dinosaur," he says. "Now I feel like I'm a
hamster on the back of a dinosaur. Or maybe a poodle."

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