Pretty Good Privacy

Also found in: Medical, Acronyms, Wikipedia.

Pretty Good Privacy

(tool, cryptography)
(PGP) A high security RSA public-key encryption application for MS-DOS, Unix, VAX/VMS, and other computers. It was written by Philip R. Zimmermann <> of Phil's Pretty Good(tm) Software and later augmented by a cast of thousands, especially including Hal Finney, Branko Lankester, and Peter Gutmann.

PGP was distributed as "guerrilla freeware". The authors don't mind if it is distributed widely, just don't ask Philip Zimmermann to send you a copy. PGP uses a public-key encryption algorithm claimed by US patent #4,405,829. The exclusive rights to this patent are held by a California company called Public Key Partners, and you may be infringing this patent if you use PGP in the USA. This is explained in the PGP User's Guide, Volume II.

PGP allows people to exchange files or messages with privacy and authentication. Privacy and authentication are provided without managing the keys associated with conventional cryptographic software. No secure channels are needed to exchange keys between users, which makes PGP much easier to use. This is because PGP is based on public-key cryptography.

PGP encrypts data using the International Data Encryption Algorithm with a random session key, and uses the RSA algorithm to encrypt the session key.

In December 1994 Philip Zimmermann faced prosecution for "exporting" PGP out of the United States but in January 1996 the US Goverment dropped the case. A US law prohibits the export of encryption software out of the country. Zimmermann did not do this, but the US government hoped to establish the proposition that posting an encryption program on a BBS or on the Internet constitutes exporting it - in effect, stretching export control into domestic censorship. If the government had won it would have had a chilling effect on the free flow of information on the global network, as well as on everyone's privacy from government snooping.


Justice Dept. announcement.

["Protect Your Privacy: A Guide for PGP Users", William Stallings, Prentice-Hall, ISBN 0-13-185596-4].
References in periodicals archive ?
Zimmermann developed the Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) encryption suite in 1991, initially to help human rights organizations communicate safely via electronic mail.
Zimmerman named his program Pretty Good Privacy as a folksy homage to Ralph's Pretty Good Grocery in Garrison Keillor's mythical Lake Wobegon.
Wessels also has held several senior-level director and managerial roles at Pretty Good Privacy, Novell, Sun Microsystems and Motorola.
2, Forum extends this capability to non-XML legacy data by providing the first integrated Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) security and acceleration solution in an appliance.
Vinton Cerf, Co-designer of TCP-IP protocols -- Stephen Cohen, General Counsel, Federal Trade Commission -- Meng Wang Wong, Lead Developer of Sender Policy Framework (SPF) -- Phil Zimmermann, Creator of Pretty Good Privacy -- Matt Cain, Senior Vice President, META Group -- David Daniels, Research Director, Jupiter Research Corporation
Dunkelberger also served as president and CEO of Pretty Good Privacy (PGP), a supplier of e-security software to 3 million customers worldwide, which was acquired by Network Associates.
Vinton Cerf, MCI, Matt Cain, META Group; Stephen Cohen, general counsel, Federal Trade Commission, Maureen Caplan Grey, Gartner Group; Peter Christy, principal and co-Founder, NetsEdge Research Group, John Levine, co-chair ASRG; Michael Osterman, founder and president of Osterman Research, Fran Maier, executive director, TRUSTe; Lee Tien, Electronic Frontier Foundation; and Phil Zimmermann, creator of Pretty Good Privacy.
Turbyfill's background also includes five startup company senior management positions including VP Engineering of Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) (acquired by Network Solutions), VP of Engineering and Operations for @LANTES.
She has held key senior executive positions at Sun, NetDynamics, Oracle, Pretty Good Privacy and ASK/Ingres.
PGP Security, a Network Associates business, today announced the ten-year anniversary of PGP -- Pretty Good Privacy.
4 release include enhanced e-mail server support, improved security options with Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) and S/MIME over FTP and enhanced collaborative tools including expanded business rules definitions.