Phil Zimmermann

IRL Name: 
Phillip R. Zimmermann Jr.

Born in Camden, New Jersey and currently residing in the San Fransisco area, Zimmermann created PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) and released it with it's source code on public FTP for download in 1991. The customs service would conduct a criminal investigation against him for possible violation of the Arms Export Control Act as at that point in time cryptographic software was consider a munition. When the government dropped it's case without indictment in 1996, Zimmermann founded PGP Inc.


The investigation against Zimmermann took place due to a report from RSA Data Security, Inc. who were in a licensing dispute due to the use of the RSA algorithm in PGP.

The first version of PGP called it's symmetric-key algorithm that Zimmermann named the BassOmatic after a SNL skit.