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PRZ Announces Depature From NAI

Hemos posted more than 13 years ago | from the moving-on-to-new-things dept.

Encryption 91

fitsy wrote to us that Philip Zimmerman, the creator of PGP [?] has left Network Associates. NA had bought PGP Inc back in December 1997, and PRZ has been working there since then - his depature marks an interesting turn in the life of PGP - but his message (below) has a lot more detail. One of cool links of things he's working on is the OpenPGP Consortium.

The message:

-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
Hash: SHA1

A note to PGP users:

As most PGP users know, Network Associates Inc (NAI) acquired my company, PGP Inc, in December 1997. For three years after that, I stayed on with NAI as Senior Fellow, to provide technical guidance for PGP's continued development, and to ensure PGP's cryptographic integrity. But I can't stay on forever. In the past three years, NAI has developed a different vision for PGP's future, and it's time for me to move on to other projects more fitting with my own objectives to protect personal privacy.

Let me assure all PGP users that all versions of PGP produced by NAI, and PGP Security, a division of NAI, up to and including the current (January 2001) release, PGP 7.0.3, are free of back doors. In all previous releases, up through PGP 6.5.8, this has been proven by the release of complete source code for public peer review. New senior management assumed control of PGP Security in the final months of 2000, and decided to reduce how much PGP source code they would publish. If NAI ever publishes the complete PGP 7.0.3 source code, I am confident that the public will be able to see that there are still no back doors. Until that time, I can offer only my own assurances that this version of PGP was developed on my watch, and has no back doors. In fact, I believe it to be the most secure version of PGP produced to date.

While it is true that NAI holds the PGP trademark and the source code for the NAI implementation of PGP, I'd like to point out that PGP is defined by an IETF open standard called OpenPGP, embodied in IETF RFC 2440, which any company may implement freely into its products. I will be working with other companies to support implementations of the OpenPGP standard, to turn it into a real industry standard supported by multiple vendors. I think the emergence of more than one strong commercial implementation of the OpenPGP standard is necessary for the long term health of the PGP movement, and will, incidentally, ultimately benefit NAI.

To this end, I will be assisting the makers of HushMail, Hush Communications (http://www.hush.com), to implement the OpenPGP standard in their future products. They will be doing their own announcement of this new relationship.

In addition, I will be assisting Veridis (http://www.veridis.com), a recent spin-off of Highware (http://www.highware.com), to create other OpenPGP compliant products, including software for certificate authorities for the OpenPGP community.

I am also launching the OpenPGP Consortium (http://openpgp.org), to facilitate interoperability of different vendors' implementations of the OpenPGP standard, as well as to help guide future directions of the OpenPGP standard.

This coming June marks the 10 year anniversary of the 1991 release of PGP to the public. PGP was originally designed for human rights applications, and to protect privacy and civil liberties in the information age. By proliferating the OpenPGP standard, we can renew that promise, and continue the commitment to personal privacy that captured the imagination and participation of millions around the world.

Philip Zimmermann
19 Feb 2001
prz@mit.edu
http://web.mit.edu/prz
-----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE-----
Version: PGP 7.0.3

iQA/AwUBOpDtWmPLaR3669X8EQLv0gCgs6zaYetj4JwkCiDSzQ JZ1ugMhqsAoMgS me78KR5VEfCVEUFpwOCCk8Tx =JVF2
-----END PGP SIGNATURE----- -- --------------------------------------------------

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91 comments

ESR! RMS! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#420674)

You are your login name!

Re:RETRACTION (1)

Zed Pobre (160035) | more than 13 years ago | (#420675)

More disturbing to me is that the key used to sign that message (as found in c.s.p.d) had an invalid self-signature when I yanked it off the keyservers.

Can anyone confirm that Zimmerman normally uses that key? Does anyone have a valid version of it?

Re:PGP vs. SSH (3)

DaveHowe (51510) | more than 13 years ago | (#420676)

"OpenPGP compliant" or "OpenPGP compatable" will certainly be available labels for such products - but "PGP compatable" may run into a wall of NAI lawyers and actually calling it PGP (or some variant with the same acronym) will definitely be offlimits.

I get a feeling of "the PGP spirit will move on in OpenPGP not PGPclassic" from the letter though that NAI won't be happy at at all - I would say the real world value of PGP just halved for them....
--

PRZ's signature is *NOT* valid (1)

TrumpetPower! (190615) | more than 13 years ago | (#420677)

I'm sorry, but, try as I might, I just can't get a good signature out of this note. I saved it as is is, with the line breaks as they came in my browser. I saved the source. I stripped HTML from the source. I stripped all the HTML but the links.

Now, I'd probably wager, say, a cup of coffee that PRZ actually did sign this note and that it's Slashdot that mangled the signature...but, frankly, what's the point of posting a PGP-signed message--by the creator of PGP, no less--if that signature simply cannot be verified?

It would be appropriate for somebody to post the note in such a way that the signature can be verified. 'Til then, my faith is as a cup of coffee....

b&

Re: How to verify (1)

PhilHibbs (4537) | more than 13 years ago | (#420678)

Damn good point - there are no line breaks, which PGP for Windows usually inserts (I don't know about other versions) - has anyone tried copying the text from a browser and verifying it? I don't have PGP on this machine.

Re:PGP vs. SSH (1)

BinaryC (314673) | more than 13 years ago | (#420682)

Eudora has a really sweet PGP plugin. When I compose a message, there are 2 buttons up top: "Encrypt" and "Sign." All I have to do is type my message and hit one of the buttons before I press send. It also scans incoming mail for PGP blocks, and automagically decrypts/verifies messages. It will ask you for your password at the appropriate time, or you can configure it to store your password. I also have a plugin for ICQ which works similar to the Eudora plugin. That one is kinda overkill, but neat anyway.

Re:Wonder if he regrets selling out? (1)

baptiste (256004) | more than 13 years ago | (#420683)

I don't think he solkd out. He was facing mega lawsuits and charges from the fresk in the government. It seemed like he joined up with NAI to help shield the product from further attacks (since NAI had more resources than he did) Maybe my timing is off but it seemed like a good move to ensure PGP remained freely available (and he remained a 'free' man :) )

--

Re:We need this more than ever now (1)

hughk (248126) | more than 13 years ago | (#420684)

Actually, no. It is around because Phil thought people needed access to a cheap privacy and authentication program. After a certain disagreement with Bidzos of Public-Key Partners, he put the program into the public domain with sources.

That was Version 1.0 and I downloaded it to Germany and started on a port.

Re:PGP vs. SSH (1)

QuadPro (16532) | more than 13 years ago | (#420685)

what if posts under your userID started showing up badmouthing the company you work for, and praising kiddie porn, and threatening to kill the president? You would have a rough time fixing that. GPG signatures would make it easy to prove you didn't do it.

False. Sorry to say it like this, but IMHO it's an important mistake. Signatures CANNOT prove you DIDN'T write something. It's very well possible that you DID make those 'evil' posts you mentioned, but signed them with a different key that nobody knows about.

Re:PRZ's signature is *NOT* valid (1)

BinaryC (314673) | more than 13 years ago | (#420686)

If you scroll up a bit, you'll find someone posted a link to the plaintext version [pgpi.org].

*** PGP Signature Status: good
*** Signer: Philip R. Zimmermann <prz@pgp.com>
*** Signed: 2/19/01 1:54:34 AM
*** Verified: 2/19/01 1:11:18 PM

Re:GnuPG (2)

Crixus (97721) | more than 13 years ago | (#420687)

Maybe PKZ can work on helping out GnuPG to be the PGP replacement across the board. Not just for geeks and cheapskates but really out do PGP. Then again I would like to replace a lot of commerical software with open source.

I was hoping the same thing.

It should also be noted that GnuPG is really coming along, and that the Gnu Privacy Assistant is under heavy development right now and is weeks away from some pretty stable releases.

Werner ported Sylpheed to Windows and will soon release a security suite which will include GPG, GPA (kinda like PGP Keys), WinPT (like PGP Tray), and Sylpheed. These will be all within one install program and will finally make using GnuPG under Windows more accessable to non-geeks.

Rich...

Re:PGP vs. SSH (2)

Pseudonym (62607) | more than 13 years ago | (#420688)

I hope the "OpenPGP consortium" doesn't make it their objective to write yet another version of PGP.

Errr... no. The last thing that an industry consortium would want to do is write a competitor to the products of its member. The most they would do in this regard is produce a reference implementation (like the one I wrote when I was reviewing RFC 2440 prior to IETF submission) which while correct isn't practical, or to serve as a test-bed for new features before they're implemented properly in a real product like GPG.

But the actual purpose of the consortium is to ensure that PGP, GPG and your hypothetical browser plugins all worked together, and to put a more formal face behind the IETF OpenPGP working group to push the standard forward even further, as well as related projects which PGP enthusiasts want to see happen like PGP/MIME, PGP/Ticket, integration of PGP with biometrics and so on. This is a good thing for the PGP standard.

Awesome for Hushmail. (1)

YoungHack (36385) | more than 13 years ago | (#420689)

I don't know about anyone else, but I already liked and recommended HushMail. The worst thing against them seemed to be that they couldn't inter-operate with gpg or pgp.

Now it looks like it will be better than ever.

Re:Is he attacking NAI? (2)

PhilHibbs (4537) | more than 13 years ago | (#420690)

Even if he does stay on, and there are no back doors, NAI have him as a figurehead to say "There are no back doors", and many people will believe him, who whould not believe any other NAI employee. By resigning, he is denying NAI the fallback plan of having a PRZ to rubber-stamp a closed-source product as being back-door free. Therefore, his best option for making NAI release the source is to resign.

Re:The tone is a little disconcerting (2)

PhilHibbs (4537) | more than 13 years ago | (#420691)

True. PRZ is a well-known figure, and with his background, (some) people are going to trust him when he says "There are no back-doors". But that's a bad policy, and I'm sure he understands it, after all he could be locked in a dark cupboard and replaced by an android. Leaving doesn't look like a cop-out in that light.

Re:Ugh, what's with the acronyms? (1)

nanun (1835) | more than 13 years ago | (#420692)

It's not so much an acronym as a nickname. Actually, it's a sort of honorific. The convention is long standing. It's a way of paying tribute to a person of significance. Everyone knows your full, legal name. Only a person of note becomes known simply as "rms" or "dmr" or "ken".

Mechanical? No. It's more human and personal that just referring to his formal name. It shows that you recognize his contribution and that you have some knowledge of the person beyond his name.


Re:Privacy is a myth, so are freedom & justice (1)

cryptochrome (303529) | more than 13 years ago | (#420693)

Freedom, justice, and equality are desirable ends. Incidentally, neither of them can fully implemented without the other. And none of them require privacy.

Privacy is just a means to some end - be it good or bad. Nor is it truly necessary to pursue alternative lifestyles - unless those lifestyles involve imposing on others. Which certainly butts up against the "freedom" issue, doesn't it? Lack of privacy just changes the rules of the game, and makes things difficult for those who have been screwing others over.

Openness dramatically enhances justice and equality. And a diverse society will demand both freedom and equality. While the intolerant may demand that people adhere to their rules, they'll be held to them too, so the rules can't be that strict and if unpopular how will they get people to follow them?

As for people so weak-brained that they automatically conform to the expectations of the powerful... who cares? That's their problem.

cryptochrome

Re:HOW ARE YOU GENTLEMEN??? (1)

Chmarr (18662) | more than 13 years ago | (#420694)

Geez... you couldn't even get that right. It's:

HOW ARE YOU GENTLEMEN!!
ALL YOUR BASE ARE BELONG TO US.

Re:Ugh, what's with the acronyms? (1)

Rogain (91755) | more than 13 years ago | (#420695)

IMHO U need to RTFM since PRZ so important to PGP, that he had to have a l33t nick. FWIW though I use GPG. CU8R.

Re:I'm glad he pgp-signed his message, (3)

Speare (84249) | more than 13 years ago | (#420696)

However, since the message was changed in formatting to HTML, the signature cannot be easily verified. You'd have to get back to the original file contents exactly, line breaks and all. Did he submit those URLs with [a href=""] tags, or did the slashdot editor insert them?

Not that it's likely very useful for Slashdot itself, but Slash and other should probably have a mechanism for "submit by file upload" and "read original submission file," so that more people can use signed content on the web. Slash already has a place for you to announce your PGP key [mine is posted], but the lame word-wrapping feature inserts a column of spaces.

It would also avoid some of that ugly "id so-and-so is the real User; everyone else is an impostor" check, by the way. Bruce Perens and anyone else who thought they were being forged could digitally sign their submissions.

Re:Is he attacking NAI? (2)

Saint Aardvark (159009) | more than 13 years ago | (#420697)

I dunno...maybe it's just me, but I didn't see any notes of bitterness in his email. It just looked like a polite "They wanna do this, and I wanna do that" explanation of a decision to leave. And the comments about backdoors -- that just sounds like one more assurance for the (overly?) concerned that there *weren't* any.

And as for whether or not he should stick around: There's only so much you can do at a job you don't like/enjoy any more (whatever that job is) before you're simply not in the mood to try anymore -- at which point your effectiveness is going to head 'way down, and you might as well just leave anyway. There was the article here a while back with the question from the CTO of a sinking company: Do I stick around to save my friends, since everything is riding on me, or do I leave this job that I no longer enjoy and head for greener pastures? The response was pretty much unanimous then: Go, 'cos sticking around in a job you don't like is no fun, and you won't be any good anyway. I'd say the same advice applies here.

And anyway, if you've trusted him on the no-backdoors thing this long, why switch now to less-secure products just because he's leaving? He's already given his word (which presumably you've already trusted, in combination w/code reviews, peer opinions, etc) on version whatever-it-was -- why not just keep using that? Or is NAI going to reach out and put some kind of backdoor in your already-downloaded, already-compiled software?

He hasn't "cut and run at the first hurdle". The guy was gonna get sued by the US Gov't for publishing his software. If you require more of him, I suggest you at least provide the crucifix yourself.

Re:Is he attacking NAI? (3)

EasyTarget (43516) | more than 13 years ago | (#420698)

Surely he'd be better off staying within NAI and fighting to ensure that the code remains free from backdoors?

Well, that may be best for us (the community), but Phil is entitled to a rewarding life of his own. Maybe he just felt he was pissing into the wind at NAI, and that he'd be happier and more productive elsewhere.

It is after all -his- life, not ours ;)

EZ
'The truth is out there.. but the lies are all in your mind.'

Re:call me an idiot, (1)

PhilHibbs (4537) | more than 13 years ago | (#420699)

Redundant
adj.

  1. Exceeding what is necessary or natural; superfluous.
  2. Needlessly repetitive; verbose.
Seems to fit the first definition nicely.

Polite Insults (2)

fm6 (162816) | more than 13 years ago | (#420700)

If NAI ever publishes the complete PGP 7.0.3 source code, I am confident that the public will be able to see that there are still no back doors.

Now that is interesting wording. Zimmerman doesn't actually say that 7.0.3 doesn't have back doors. Is he being coy, or does he just consider "trust me on this" to be too hypocritical?

It seems to me that Zimmerman is being about as rude as he can be without getting sued. Closed-source encryption software is seriously out of fashion, and probably every reputable security expert, including Zimmerman, thinks NAI just shot themselves in the foot. As a recent NAI employee, Zimmerman can't express himself freely, but he can lay out some objective facts and let people draw their own conclusions.

__________________

Re:Is he attacking NAI? (1)

fitsy (22336) | more than 13 years ago | (#420701)

He does seem to leave it as "make what u want of it", but the downside of this (from MY point of view) is the lack of an open/trusted encryption suite such as what the PGP SDK offered. Unless NAI continue to provide full source for the SDK, that is.

Oh well, time will tell.

On a different note, does anyone know of a product which offers the functionality of the PGP SDK? (Please don't point me to GNUPG)

BTW, I did spell "depa[r]ture" correctly in my submission ;-)

Re:Ugh, what's with the acronyms? (3)

DaveHowe (51510) | more than 13 years ago | (#420702)

I don't see the problem here - Phil is sufficiently well-known that everyone knows who PRZ is when we use that appreviation..
--

Re:Future Backdoors ? (1)

NecroPuppy (222648) | more than 13 years ago | (#420703)

...probably to appease NSA...

Repeat after me, citizen. The NSA does not exist. The NSA does not exist. There is No Such Agency.

Re:Future Backdoors ? (2)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 13 years ago | (#420704)

He's not saying that they're putting in back doors, he's just saying that they could do it, since they aren't going to disclose the full source code. And when dealing with security, the merest possibility that something can happen, must be treated as though it will happen.

It's the "No source == 10 backdoors in every line of code" interpretation.


---

Re:Is he attacking NAI? (1)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 13 years ago | (#420705)

It seems as though he's willing to compromise his principles to get out of a difficult situation

On the contrary, the way I see it, he is accepting a difficult situation in order to avoid compromising his principles.

It sounds like the decision is out of his hands (he tried fighting and lost), and now he has to either do the wrong thing, or leave. He's leaving.


---

Re:PGP vs. SSH (3)

Azog (20907) | more than 13 years ago | (#420706)

I hope the "OpenPGP consortium" doesn't make it their objective to write yet another version of PGP. We all ready have one - Gnu Privacy Guard - which is both open source and RFC-whatever compliant. Plus it's fully scriptable, so it's easy to hook it up to other programs. And the documentation is even good.

On the other hand, if the OpenPGP consortium works with Hushmail, Zero Knowlege, and all the other companies out there to try to make secure email interoperable, that would be very, very nice.

I'm sure the NSA,CIA,FBI, and others get the giggles every day they decrypt email and think "Damn, these people are dumb! PGP has been out there in the world for years now, and almost nobody uses it!"

But frankly, it's a pain to use because it isn't integrated into enough software. For example, it would be nice if you could attach an OpenPGP signature to the text you put into an on-line form in Mozilla - like I am right now. Then we could have secure-signed Slashdot postings. Why? It's not like Slashdot's cookie-based login system is very secure - not that it was ever claimed to be - but if hacked into Slashdot (again) and managed to steal some username/password combinations, they could do a lot of damage to some people's reputations. I'm not talking about karma loss here - what if posts under your userID started showing up badmouthing the company you work for, and praising kiddie porn, and threatening to kill the president? You would have a rough time fixing that. GPG signatures would make it easy to prove you didn't do it.

And if my W2K box at work supported OpenPGP in Outlook, that would be nice too. So, I wish the best to Phil Katz and the OpenPGP consortium, as long as they don't bother to reinvent the Gnu Privacy Guard wheel. Look for innovative ways to add Open-PGP signatures to everything!


Torrey Hoffman (Azog)

Re:Is he attacking NAI? (2)

Storm Damage (133732) | more than 13 years ago | (#420707)

Surely he'd be better off staying within NAI and fighting to ensure that the code remains free from backdoors? It seems as though he's willing to compromise his principles to get out of a difficult situation, and it means that many of us are going to have to switch to other, less secure versions that we at least know are free from holes.

Not necessarily. If he stays on as an employee of NAI, he could continue to fight against the opening of back doors in the software, but if (when) he loses those fights, he would probably be bound by NDAs and non-compete clauses and the like from publicizing them, and the community at large would have no recourse but to assume that since he is an still an employee, that the product remains true to his original vision, which may not be the case.

Phil is smart and seems aware that the public cannot wisely trust a closed-source security program, and he is stating that he does not wish to continue endorsing it by associating himself with the company that publishes it. I congratulate his courage in leaving a (probably) lucrative corporate position on this principle. Instead, by going to work on the OpenPGP standard, and doing consulting services for other companies who wish to integrate open-standards PGP into their products, he is insuring that peer-reviewable privacy software continues to be available to the public at large.

If he was cutting and running at the first hurdle, he'd stay with NAI, and keep his paycheck, despite the fact that they were making the software less free. Instead, he's making a rather large personal sacrifice to ensure that PGP remains a security system we can trust, even if we can't necessarily trust NAI's implementation of it.

Ask PRZ about it in person... (2)

Elias Israel (182882) | more than 13 years ago | (#420708)

If you're going to be in the Boston area this weekend, you can see Philip Zimmerman at the Massachusetts Libertarian Convention [lpma.org], on the Saturday the 24th.

Is the message a fake? Is it real?

What does this all mean for the future of privacy on the Internet?

Get your answers straight from the man.

Re:Polite Insults (1)

TicTacTux (99149) | more than 13 years ago | (#420709)

Let's face the truth: every company acquired by NAI sooner or later died (ie was sucked dry be these vampires; they're undertakers in disguise). I'd never ever buy a product with a NAI sticker on it, and if 'my' favourite was bought by NAI, I'd quickly shop around for alternatives.

I wouldn't be overly surprised if NAI sold backdoors to either MS or NSA or KGB or whoever is able to pay enough. So, I am not overly surprised that Zimmerman left the ship.

(now I wonder whether *that* insult was polite...)

Re:Is he attacking NAI? (1)

nculwell (311130) | more than 13 years ago | (#420710)

It seems to me that by leaving NAI, PKZ is giving them an incentive to re-open the source to PGP to prove that there are no backdoors, since they no longer have his personal stamp of approval as an inside reviewer.

-N

PGP trademark vs openPGP? (1)

shon (20200) | more than 13 years ago | (#420711)

I noticed Phil said that NAI owns the trademark to PGP, yet he's going to work on the openpgp group. I wonder if we'll see a repeat of the SSH(tm) vs opensssh scandal... NAI is a big corporation with a bunch of hungry lawyers, so who knows what will happen if openpgp eats into their corporate bottom line like it did with SSH. Shon

Re:I'm glad he pgp-signed his message, (2)

Billy Donahue (29642) | more than 13 years ago | (#420712)

actually, someone removed his phone number from the last line, and invalidated the signature.
Here's [mit.edu] the real message...

Re:The tone is a little disconcerting (2)

YoJ (20860) | more than 13 years ago | (#420713)

I think he's trying his hardest to force them to release the source code, whether they want to or not. With this announcement, he stresses the importance of seeing the code again and again. If NAI doesn't release the source, people will assume it is untrustworthy, especially since Zimmerman says he doesn't guarantee future versions. NAI basically has no choice now but to keep releasing the source if they want to remain a viable option for serious security.

Re:Future Backdoors ? (1)

he-sk (103163) | more than 13 years ago | (#420714)

And when dealing with security, the merest possibility that something can happen, must be treated as though it will happen.
I don't want to sound picky, but by that logic, there's no point in using PGP (or SSH for that matter) at all. The only crypto method that has been proven mathematically to be absolutely secure is encryption with a one-time random key, that has the same length as the message text. Public key encryption is based on the fact that it is unfeasable in human time to decrypt the message, not that it is impossible.

So, there is the merest possibility that decryption can happen, still everybody is assuming that it won't happen.

BTW, I agree on your "No source == 10 backdoors in every line of code" interpretation. Just another reason, not to use products of NAI.

The tone is a little disconcerting (1)

PhilHibbs (4537) | more than 13 years ago | (#420715)

I'm getting the feeling from reading it that he's concerned about the direction that NAI is going in, and no longer approves. Has he resigned because they're not releasing the source? Or am I reading too much into this?

PGP vs. SSH (3)

lunenburg (37393) | more than 13 years ago | (#420716)

Hm, it looks like PRZ is saying that while NAI owns the trademark on PGP, since OpenPGP is the name of an internet standard, other people can use it to describe their projects.

Maybe I'm reading that wrong, but I wonder how that plays with the whole "SSH the Product" vs. "SSH the Protocol" debate?

Is he attacking NAI? (3)

sharkticon (312992) | more than 13 years ago | (#420717)

Seems to be as though this letter contains hints of bitterness over having to leave, and that the vision he had for PGP and NAI's vision were somewhat different. The comments about source code and backdoors seem to indicate that he thinks NAI aren't going to be opening the code for review in the future.

Surely he'd be better off staying within NAI and fighting to ensure that the code remains free from backdoors? It seems as though he's willing to compromise his principles to get out of a difficult situation, and it means that many of us are going to have to switch to other, less secure versions that we at least know are free from holes.

When it comes to ensuring freedom you can't just cut and run at the first hurdle...

Can he do that? (2)

Simon Tatham (66941) | more than 13 years ago | (#420719)

He'll be moving on to help other companies produce implementations of the OpenPGP standard. Don't most companies' employment contracts include a provision that you agree not to go into business in direct competition for n years afterwards? And wouldn't a competing implementation of the OpenPGP standard count?

Perhaps he didn't have a contract like that; since he started PGP the company himself, he presumably didn't bother to write himself a daft contract then, and maybe NAI didn't impose one on him when they bought him...

I'm glad he pgp-signed his message, (3)

wunderhorn1 (114559) | more than 13 years ago | (#420720)

cause nobody on here would be so naive as to automatically assume everything they read is true! That would never happen, since we're all a bunch of raging sceptics.

blah.

We need this more than ever now (1)

ishrat (235467) | more than 13 years ago | (#420721)

PGP was originally designed for human rights applications, and to protect privacy and civil liberties in the information age.

Re:Is he attacking NAI? (3)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#420723)

I picked up a similar feeling from the letter. What goes unwritten is at least as interesting as what was written. For example, by specifying which versions he has certified to be free of backdoors, is he indicating that company policy is going to change in the future or is he just saying that there aren't any NSAKEYs here on his watch?

I have to dispute Phil's decision and future plans as being a compromise on his principles, though. He's moving from trying to ensure NAI's PGP as a secure product to trying to ensure everyone's OpenPGP implementation is a secure product. Additionally, he's trying to make using OpenPGP a more realistic option for everyone, something that the industry could probably use considering that about one e-mail in a hundred that I read has been signed and none of my associates has ever used PGP. He still wants to push freedom; he's just moved his focus from one commercial product to any software willing to embrace an open standard.

Re:Polite Insults (2)

PhilHibbs (4537) | more than 13 years ago | (#420724)

Zimmerman doesn't actually say that 7.0.3 doesn't have back doors.
Yes, he does.

RETRACTION (1)

Siqnal 11 (210012) | more than 13 years ago | (#420725)

-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
Hash: SHA1

A note to PGP users:

It has come to my attention that there is an article in this forum which has been incorrectly attributed to me. The forger even went so far as to include a PGP signature with the post.

Unfortunately, the PGP signature is meaningless in this situation, as it has simply been pasted in place from an email I previously sent. The smoking gun is in the line of dashes directly following the words 'END PGP SIGNATURE'. There are five dashes, followed by a single space, the two more dashes, another space, then the remainder of the dashes.

Philip Zimmermann
19 Feb 2001
prz@mit.edu
http://web.mit.edu/prz
-----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE-----
Version: PGP 7.0.3

iQA/AwUBOpDtWmPLaR3669X8EQLv0gCgs6zaYetj4JwkCiDS zQ JZ1ugMhqsAoMgS me78KR5VEfCVEUFpwOCCk8Tx =JVF2
-----END PGP SIGNATURE------

--

Re:Future Backdoors ? (2)

DrXym (126579) | more than 13 years ago | (#420727)

NAI treats PGP as mass market consumer software and may think that it will have little impact on ignorant Joe Public whether they release the source or not. Probably they are correct, but it hugely undermimes the reputation that PGP has built up all these years for those that know better. Maybe this is why he left?

How to check for backdoors (1)

f5426 (144654) | more than 13 years ago | (#420728)

> PRZ seems to stress on the points that PGP has NO backdoors as of now and that he and NAI have different visions of the product. Could this be somekind of a hint that NAI now wants to build backdoors into their product, probably to appease NSA or something like that ? After all we know that many MS products do have NSA backdoors.

It is not _that_ complex.

> strings /usr/local/bin/pgp | grep goatse.cx
>

Cheers,

--fred

Re:ESR! RMS! (2)

pigpogm (70382) | more than 13 years ago | (#420729)

But you're not logged in.

So you don't exist.

So there's nothing for me to reply to.

So this comment doesn't exist.

Now i'm confused.

Re:Is he attacking NAI? (2)

slashdoter (151641) | more than 13 years ago | (#420730)

I dunno...maybe it's just me, but I didn't see any notes of bitterness in his email. It just looked like a polite "They wanna do this, and I wanna do that" explanation of a decision to leave. And the comments about backdoors -- that just sounds like one more assurance for the (overly?) concerned that there *weren't* any.

I read alot of bitterness in this letter, let me explain. if you have ever watched Congress or parlament (the UK version) then you will see a trend. Evertime one senitor is about to diagree with a point someone else makes he usually starts with something like "my good Friend" or" he really is a great guy but..." you see the first part( or rather the best way ) of presenting a contray point is to show that you don't want to attack the person but the isdea. He is smart to say as little as he did, and it does tell me alot about what he wanted to say. if he just wanted to leave NAI he would have said,"they are a great group of guys but I want to try some other things"or" my kids are killing me to play ball" instead he made it a point to bring up the backdoors, that is very telling to me. or I'm just paranoid.


________

I think you may be right (1)

Nick Driver (238034) | more than 13 years ago | (#420731)

although PKZ is only saying "I can't guarantee future versions won't be backdoored" it *will* be read as "I left because future versions WILL be backdoored"


I thought this too.

Re:Polite Insults (2)

StrawberryFrog (67065) | more than 13 years ago | (#420732)

> Zimmerman doesn't actually say that 7.0.3 doesn't have back doors

He does say that *as far as he can tell and as far as he could try*, it is good.

Come on dude, would you say flatly and point blank that your code is bug free, or would you rather say "if you looked at the source, I am confident that you won't find any bugs".

He also seems to be implying "I would like to make the source public, but the new bosses don't. So I am leaving to go make open systems" If that is so, Yay Phil!

Good riddance! About time (2)

swordgeek (112599) | more than 13 years ago | (#420733)

Good on Phil! He should have done this years ago.

Most of the people I know who use PGP stuck with 2.--the last pre-NAI version--until GPG came along. Nobody uses NAI PGP.
Nobody trusts NAI.
Nobody likes the NAI license agreements.

In short, NAI did more to SLOW DOWN the widespread use of PGP than any government ruling or censure. Almost makes one wonder what their agenda _really_ was for all of those years.

Anyways, congrats to Phil for getting away from those bastards.

Doesn't matter... just use GPG. (1)

burtonator (70115) | more than 13 years ago | (#420734)

I don't know why people are still focusing on PGP. This is a proprietary product. This article is tainted with the proprietary software industry.

I think it is great that OpenPGP exists so that Gnu Privacy Guard can exist without any patent violations. That said there is no reason for any other PGP implementation to exist. Without source code a crypto impl is not worth the paper it is printed on (considering it isn't printed... this isn't much). Even if Phill Z. himself went over the code for 7.x, NAI can still add a back door right before they ship and Phill will never know. The only crypto you should EVER trust is crypto which you compile yourself and has been audited and signed by experts.

I think the issue is that of money. Zimmerman wants to get paid to work on PGP but only the closed source people are currently willing to do that. Crypto and privacy people have always had revenue stream problems. Most people don't care about their privacy so they don't buy PGP. Crypto is a loosing leader for other markets and I think we should apply our focus there.

Kevin

Re:Is he attacking NAI? (2)

Minupla (62455) | more than 13 years ago | (#420736)

Oh COME now, you honestly think the man who stood up for his principles in the face of a jail term (here [banned-books.com]) is going to buckle under, "at the first hurdle"? I think Philip Zimmerman has more then proved to anyone with the first clue that he is no quiter. If he left NAI (and probably a damn good paycheque :)) it's because he felt he could do more good elsewhere.

The integrety of crypto software is ensured by peer review. It's the only way you can be sure. If it's not peer reviewed, you have to assume it's flawed, it's as simple as that. NAI's decision to not release complete source to their latest version of PGP severely underminds their credability, and if they were unwilling to do so, I don't see that PZ had any choice but to part company with him.

More power to him for voting with his feet.
--
Remove the rocks to send email

GnuPG (1)

sboss (13167) | more than 13 years ago | (#420737)

Maybe PKZ can work on helping out GnuPG to be the PGP replacement across the board. Not just for geeks and cheapskates but really out do PGP. Then again I would like to replace a lot of commerical software with open source. Scott
Scott
hacker
sboss dot net
email: scott@sboss.net

Re:PRZ's signature is *NOT* valid - YES it IS! (1)

Ranger Nik (28958) | more than 13 years ago | (#420739)

key id is: 0xFAEBD5FC
that's him all right. i verified it myself using the plain text version. bad /. for screwing this up. just goes to show that people like phil are important because security is too complicated for the masses (including /. geeks)

no back doors "now" (1)

Muttonhead (109583) | more than 13 years ago | (#420740)

I bet PRZ is under an NDA stating he can't say anything about backdoors. But cleverly, before he leaves, he can say there aren't any backdoors now . Sounds like a warning to me.

PZ has been a hero for many, but it's obvious that his motives where questioned when he joined CAI.

I'd like to see him working with the GPG folks.

Re:The tone is a little disconcerting (5)

DaveHowe (51510) | more than 13 years ago | (#420741)

That is how I read it, yes - NAI is moving away from the open-peer-review, trust-me-because-you-can-check attitude PGP always has shown to a closed, trust-me-because-you-always-have model that is going to lead to an assumption that "official" PGP builds can't be trusted any more.

If I was NAI, I would take this as a pretty devestating blow - although PKZ is only saying "I can't guarantee future versions won't be backdoored" it *will* be read as "I left because future versions WILL be backdoored" and may well cost NAI major market share. Certainly, an OpenPGP "approved and checked by PKZ" labelled product will have a higher confidence-factor than something PKZ openly turned his back on....
--

Re:Can he do that? (2)

joshv (13017) | more than 13 years ago | (#420742)

Open PGP is an open standard, and the patents for the public key technology it is based on I believe have all expired.

So NA wouldn't have much of a legal leg to stand on with regards to enforcing any sort of IP agreement with PRZ, neither he nor NA owns the IP.

-josh

Privacy is a myth, even the pretty good kind! (2)

cryptochrome (303529) | more than 13 years ago | (#420743)

No matter how well you think you've hidden something, somebody can always find it, and chances are they wouldn't tell you about it. Insisting on privacy just makes it easier for orgs with the resources to watch you in secret with time-honored techniques like traffic analysis and good old fashioned spying.

For more info you should read David Brin's The Transparent Society [kithrup.com].

cryptochrome

Re:RETRACTION (1)

fitsy (22336) | more than 13 years ago | (#420744)


Good One, you even forgot to post anonymously.

For those stoopid enough to believe this (troll) go check on comp.security.pgp.discuss

Re:Can he do that? (3)

DaveHowe (51510) | more than 13 years ago | (#420745)

It is more likely that, given the PKZ "name" was a major part of the resources of the official PGP product, his contract said he couldn't take the money and run - he must publicly stay with NAI for a number of years (three seems like a likely number)
--

Re:Future Backdoors ? (1)

umeshunni (37684) | more than 13 years ago | (#420746)

I am not a US citizen or even a resident... so for me the NSA is the Nasty Snooper from America

Re:Polite Insults (1)

bluebomber (155733) | more than 13 years ago | (#420747)

Zimmerman doesn't actually say that 7.0.3 doesn't have back doors.

He does: go back and read the *entire* paragraph -- especially the first part, where he says "up to and including 7.0.3 have no back doors". We are just supposed to trust him because we can't see the source. I'm inclined to do so...

-bluebomber

Can't trust the guy... (3)

Karpe (1147) | more than 13 years ago | (#420749)

...since we all know he is a criminal. I don't trust a guy who illegaly export ammo from the USA, no matter that now he was considered innocent.

;)

Heh! (3)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 13 years ago | (#420750)

I've already been using GPG for ages and ages.

I wish it had more of an API for incorporating it into other software though (Maybe it does and I just missed it...)

Re:Future Backdoors ? (1)

imipak (254310) | more than 13 years ago | (#420751)

>After all we know that many MS products do >have NSA backdoors.

Really? News to me. Examples? Or are you just recycling that old 'NSA_KEY' FUD?
--
If the good lord had meant me to live in Los Angeles

Re:Future Backdoors ? (2)

jd (1658) | more than 13 years ago | (#420752)

Unlikely. The NSA are working to release an open source secure Linux distribution, complete with (VERY) strong authentication, access controls and encryption.

Whilst that doesn't rule out a -division- of the NSA working in the opposite direction, I think that (as a whole), they've got the message that security comes from within.

Re:PGP vs. SSH (1)

mech9t8 (310197) | more than 13 years ago | (#420753)

I think the important difference between the SSH situation and the PGP situation is that Zimmerman is freely opening up the name "OpenPGP" to the Open Source community and the creator of SSH hasn't, and would like to keep it to himself for a while. Mostly a matter of politeness, of respecting the creator's wishes.

(Also of note: Zimmerman has likely made his millions. The SSH team hasn't yet.)

Re:Ask PRZ about it in person... (1)

drwho (4190) | more than 13 years ago | (#420754)

Its in goddamned MARLBORO, which is closer to WORCESTER. How the hell would I get there without a car? CRAP.

Re:Future Backdoors ? (1)

child_of_mercy (168861) | more than 13 years ago | (#420755)

Thats incredibly naieve.

Given the immensity of human experience I think we can assume that any subjects covered by an intelligent man in a short note are there for a reason.

Given that he belabors the "trusted" versions and makes note of "different visions" I think you could safely bet large sums of money on backdoors in future versions and not lose any sleep over it.

Re:Ugh, what's with the acronyms? (2)

sulli (195030) | more than 13 years ago | (#420756)

So what does it take for your initials to become a TLA? I know who RMS is, and successfully guessed (from NAI) who PRZ is, but (for example) what needs to happen for Linus Torvalds (as opposed to Lawrence Taylor) to become LT, and Rob Malda to become RM? Enquiring minds want to know.

Yes, I was too lazy to look up their middle names. Sue me.

Re:PRZ's signature is *NOT* valid (2)

Simon Garlick (104721) | more than 13 years ago | (#420757)

Phil posted the message to the newsgroups alt.security.pgp and comp.security.pgp.discuss, and the PGP signature checks out.

Through its decision to withhold source code for PGP versions 7.x and upwards, Network Associates, Inc. has demonstrated that neither it or its products can be trusted.

shg

PGP Keys available at www.nzgames.com/pgp.html

Re:Can he do that? (1)

scm (21828) | more than 13 years ago | (#420758)

"Don't most companies' employment contracts include a provision that you agree not to go into business in direct competition for n years afterwards?"

Non-compete clauses aren't valid in California.

PGP is too big (1)

pchown (90777) | more than 13 years ago | (#420759)

I can't verify the source code of PGP 7 but I know I don't trust PGP 6. It is just too big to verify. I was doing some unusual stuff and it kept crashing. So were these crashes because of exploitable buffer overruns? I don't know. It's a shame because PGP 2 was (and is) rock solid.

Another problem is that many of the features in OpenPGP are difficult to implement. With PGP 2, the trust associated with a key can be calculated using Dijkstra's algorithm. With OpenPGP it is much harder because when signing you can say in what circumstances the signature is valid. So instead of each key having a fixed trust value, it can have a potentially unlimited number of trust values for different situations.

Finally, all versions of PGP are too hard for novices to use. I wrote whisper [234.cx] to provide an easier way for novices to encrypt messages. You can use Whisper even if you are just a Microsoft Office person. You won't get any fancy crypto technology though (unless AES counts). Whisper is GPL'd.

Ugh, what's with the acronyms? (2)

AFCArchvile (221494) | more than 13 years ago | (#420760)

I thought his name was Phil Zimmerman, not PRZ! What are you people, machines? Call him by his name, and not by his acronym!

Ugh, we seem to be having the same problem with Richard Stallman.

Future Backdoors ? (2)

umeshunni (37684) | more than 13 years ago | (#420761)

PRZ seems to stress on the points that PGP has NO backdoors as of now and that he and NAI have different visions of the product. Could this be somekind of a hint that NAI now wants to build backdoors into their product, probably to appease NSA or something like that ? After all we know that many MS products do have NSA backdoors.

Re:I'm glad he pgp-signed his message, (1)

PhilHibbs (4537) | more than 13 years ago | (#420762)

Come off it, I don't think he's the sort of person that would forge a message from himself.

Wonder if he regrets selling out? (2)

joshv (13017) | more than 13 years ago | (#420763)

It seems like this is always the result when some idealistic hacker sells out to the corporate hordes. Sure, for awhile they might placate the techie genius, but eventually the lawyers and the shareholders hijack the corporate 'vision' and the hacker is left to wonder what became of his utopian dreams for his software.

At least PRZ has the fact that it is an open standard to fall back on. He can go back and dupilcate the work he has already done - but still, it's seems an unneccessary waste of resources.

-josh

Re:Is he attacking NAI? (1)

kraig (8821) | more than 13 years ago | (#420764)

switch to other, less secure versions that we at least know are free from holes.

It would seem to me that if they're free from holes, they're *more* secure. If you don't trust the product, it isn't secure, I don't care what features it has.
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