PGP Email in Decline

Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) was developed by Phil Zimmerman in 1991 to enable secure exchange of documents and email. Security is based on standard cryptography and a “web of trust.” PGP was freely distributed, and used by many. An Internet standard for email using PGP is specified in RFC 2015 “MIME Security with Pretty Good Privacy (PGP).”

I had not used PGP for many years, and was recently asked to use it for secure document interchange. The availability of PGP to support email seems dated and limited. I was unable to find a free GUI implementation for Windows XP. This suggests a decreasing level of interest in this PGP use with email.

Commercial PGP is available from PGP Corp. The underlying technology is alive and well, but it is focused to provide solutions for desktop and disk encryption.

Steve Kille

One Comment

  1. Hans Nordhaug
    Posted March 31, 2008 at 4:04 PM | Permalink

    Well, many people are moving to online e-mail services – in particular Gmail. Those users have PGP easily available using FireGPG . In addition you have the Enigmail security extension for the Thunderbird e-mail client (which runs on Windows XP).

    Regards,
    Hans

  2. kille
    Posted April 2, 2008 at 12:21 AM | Permalink

    Hans,

    Thanks for pointing these out. Support in Thunderbird and Gmail/Firefox is clearly a good thing.

    Do you know of a system that can be used with Outlook, or with Internet Explorer?

    I’d expect a general purpose technology in “good health” to be easilty usable with most mainstream platforms.

    Steve

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