Philip Richard Zimmermann Jr (born 1954)

Wikipedia 🌐 Phil Zimmermann

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Philip R. "Phil" Zimmermann (born 1954) is an American computer scientist and cryptographer. He is the creator of Pretty Good Privacy (PGP), the most widely used email encryption software in the world. He is also known for his work in VoIP encryption protocols, notably ZRTP and Zfone. Zimmermann is co-founder and Chief Scientist of the global encrypted communications firm Silent Circle.


He was born in Camden, New Jersey. Zimmermann received a B.S. degree in computer science from Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida in 1978. In the 1980s, Zimmermann worked in Boulder, Colorado as a software engineer and was a part of the Nuclear Weapons Freeze Campaign as a military policy analyst.


In 1991, he wrote the popular Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) program, and made it available (together with its source code) through public FTP for download, the first widely available program implementing public-key cryptography. Shortly thereafter, it became available overseas via the Internet, though Zimmermann has said he had no part in its distribution outside the United States.

The very first version of PGP included an encryption algorithm, BassOmatic, developed by Zimmermann.

Arms Export Control Act investigation

After a report from RSA Security, who were in a licensing dispute with regard to the use of the RSA algorithm in PGP, the United States Customs Service started a criminal investigation of Zimmermann, for allegedly violating the Arms Export Control Act. The United States Government had long regarded cryptographic software as a munition, and thus subject to arms trafficking export controls. At that time, PGP was considered to be impermissible ("high-strength") for export from the United States. The maximum strength allowed for legal export has since been raised and now allows PGP to be exported. The investigation lasted three years, but was finally dropped without filing charges.

After the government dropped its case without indictment in early 1996, Zimmermann founded PGP Inc. and released an updated version of PGP and some additional related products. That company was acquired by Network Associates (NAI) in December 1997, and Zimmermann stayed on for three years as a Senior Fellow. NAI decided to drop the product line and in 2002, PGP was acquired from NAI by a new company called PGP Corporation. Zimmermann served as a special advisor and consultant to that firm until Symantec acquired PGP Corporation in 2010. Zimmermann is also a fellow at the Stanford Law School's Center for Internet and Society. He was a principal designer of the cryptographic key agreement protocol (the "association model") for the Wireless USB standard.

Silent Circle

Along with Mike Janke and Jon Callas, in 2012 he co-founded Silent Circle, a secure hardware and subscription based software security company.

Dark Mail Alliance

In October 2013, Zimmermann, along with other key employees from Silent Circle, teamed up with Lavabit founder Ladar Levison to create the Dark Mail Alliance. The goal of the organization is to work on a new protocol to replace PGP that will encrypt email metadata, among other things that PGP is not capable of.

Zimmermann's Law

In 2013, an article on Zimmermann's Law quoted Phil Zimmermann as saying The natural flow of technology tends to move in the direction of making surveillance easier, and the ability of computers to track us doubles every eighteen months, in reference to Moore's law.

Awards and other recognition

Zimmermann has received numerous technical and humanitarian awards for his pioneering work in cryptography:

Simon Singh's The Code Book devotes an entire chapter to Zimmermann and PGP.


  • The Official PGP User's Guide, MIT Press, 1995 ( See book at [HB0009][ GDrive ] )
  • PGP Source Code and Internals, MIT Press, 1995

1972 (April)

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1976 (Dec) - Father Passes

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1987 (Dec) - As a protestor in Colorado

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1993 (Sep 21)

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1993 (Nov)

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1994 (June)

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1994 (AUG)

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NOTE (verify this) - "Clinton Brooks, who had served up to now as special assistant to the NSA director for equities, has been named to the newly-created post of NSA's Knowledge Management Office. The office appears to have been created to develop artificial intelligence applications in NSA's decision-making process."

1995 (Aug 13) - Mother Myra Zimmermann passes

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Son Matthew at Beast Code ?

Naval warfare ? 2020-01-linkedin-com-matthew-zimmermann.pdf /




Source : 1995 (March edition) of "PGP : Pretty Good Privacy" - Chapter 4 ("A Pretty Good History of PGP")

See book at [HB0009][ GDrive ]

[...] PGP arouses passions like few other pieces of software. That's because PGP hits two raw nerves in the computer industry: the fight over encryption and privacy and the fight over software patents. And both of those fights are neatly encapsulated in the person of one computer scientist, turned peace activist turned cryptography outlaw, turned Cypherpunk spokesman: Phil Zimmermann.

Phil Zimmermann: On the Road to PGP

Phil Zimmermann doesn't fit the mold of the typical Cypherpunk. Married with two kids, Zimmermann lives in a small house in Boulder, Colorado, where he tries as best as he can to make a living as a full-time cryptography consultant. He feels more comfortable in a suit and tie than in a T-shirt and jeans. Zimmermann doesn't lead a glamorous, flamboyant life, but then cryptography isn't high-stakes poker. At least, it didn't used to be.

Zimmermann was born in Camden, New Jersey, in 1954, but his parents soon moved to southern Florida. He spent most of his formative years in Miami and Fort Lauderdale. When it was time for college, he picked Florida Atlantic University in nearby Boca Raton.

In college Zimmermann first studied physics, but soon he was bitten by the bug and switched his major to computer science. He met one of the school's switchboard operators, fell in love, and got married on the spring equinox in 1977. He took a year off from school to get some real-world experience working at Harris Computer Systems Division in Fort Lauderdale, where he worked on a Fortran compiler, an interval arithmetic package, and some other compiler tools. When he graduated from college in late 1978, Phil and his wife packed up everything they owned and moved to Boulder, Colorado.

Phil didn't have a job waiting for him in the Rockies, but Boulder sounded like an interesting place to live. The mountains represented a big change from the life that the couple had known on the Florida coast. And Zimmermann's degree in computer science, combined with his year of work experience, meant that he didn't have to look long for work once he arrived. In short order, he became a freelance computer consultant working with a company that was designing devices for the upcoming consumer electronics bus (CEBus). Typical applications of the technology were controlling lights in a house by remote control or using a home's electrical wiring for an alarm system.

Things were looking up for the Zimmermann family, but clouds were on the horizon: mushroom clouds. In 1980, Ronald Reagan was elected to office, and Zimmermann began to get nervous. "Reagan was in the White House. Brezhnev was in the Kremlin. Our side was building weapons that were designed to launch a first strike," he later recalled. Day by day, Zimmermann and his wife worried more about the possibility of nuclear war; the birth of their first child in 1980 made matters all the more urgent. To the couple, there seemed to be only one logical solution: emigrate to New Zealand.

"We thought it would be a hard life in New Zealand after a nuclear war, but we thought it might be still livable," he says. It was better than the supposed alternative in postwar America.

Zimmermann started obtaining the necessary passports and immigration papers for himself and his family. Everything was in order and ready to go by early 1982, when the couple heard about a conference being held in Denver by a group calling itself the Nuclear Weapons Freeze Campaign. They decided to go.

Zimmermann remembers the conference as "sobering but empowering." He heard a lecture by Daniel Ellsberg, the man who gave the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times. Ellsberg left Zimmermann feeling hopeful. The United States, after all, is a democracy. "It seemed plausible that this was a political movement that had some chance of success, of turning things around," he recalls. "And so we decided to stay and fight."

Soon after the conference, Zimmermann started hunting for books about military policy and weapons. He discovered a particularly good bookstore at a nearby mall and spent several hundred dollars. Zimmermann was going to become a self-taught military policy analyst. As soon as he finished the books, he started teaching his own course called "Get Smart on the Arms Race" at the Community Free School, a nonaccredited adult education center in Boulder. He made the rounds as a public speaker and started to train lobbyists and political candidates on issues of military policy and weapons technology. He was even arrested, along with Carl Sagan, Daniel Ellsberg, and more than 400 other protesters, at the Nevada nuclear testing grounds. "Direct action," he called it.

Politically, Zimmermann's years with the antinuclear movement were a success. Zimmermann's group helped get Tim Wirth elected to the U.S. Senate and another Democrat, David Skaggs, elected to Congress. But financially, Zimmermann couldn't have picked a worse time: he had just given up his lucrative business as a computer consultant in favor of starting a computer company with some of his friends. And startup companies, especially in the computer field, have a way of not putting food on the table.

Metamorphic Systems

In 1980, the most exciting personal computer in the world was the Apple II, manufactured by a new company in Cupertino, California, called Apple Computer. The Apple II had a full-size keyboard, fantastic graphics, and a fairly speedy microprocessor, the 6502. But as time passed, the Apple's 6502 seemed to run slower and slower. When IBM launched its new personal computer in 1981, it didn't use the 6502, but a new chip from Intel, the 8088.

Zimmermann's startup had a simple premise: build a single-board computer with an Intel 8088 that could plug into the back of an Apple II. That way, Apple II users could get the speed of the 8088, without having to give up their existing software. Zimmermann and his friends gave their company an appropriate name, Metamorphic Systems. Its headquarters was located in the kitchen of one of the founders.

By day, Zimmermann would work in his friend's kitchen, writing the basic input/output system (BIOS) of the new Metamorphic computer. At night, he would study military policy at home. And at the bank, Zimmermann's savings were draining away.

One day, Metamorphic Systems got a telephone call from a computer programmer in Arkansas named Charlie Merritt. Zimmermann picked up the phone. Merritt had seen the advertisements for Metamorphic Systems' computer and was excited by the machine's speed. Merritt needed speed, he explained to Zimmermann, because he was writing programs to do public key cryptography with an algorithm called RSA, and RSA was a pig with CPU cycles. At the mention of cryptography, something clicked in Zimmermann's mind.

1970 (May) - kacie cavanaugh - Future wife promoting peace!

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1982 (July) - camping

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"Crypto, How the Code Rebels Beat the Government--Saving Privacy in the Digital Age" - Chapter 2

Chapter - crypto anarchy

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