cr> Phil Zimmermann on PGP and Human Rights


Sender: •••@••.•••

Message-Id: <199603181901.TAA04161@maalox>
Subject: PGP and Human Rights
Date: Mon, 18 Mar 1996 12:01:37 -0700 (MST)
From: Philip Zimmermann <•••@••.•••>

Recently, I received the following letters by email from Central Europe.
The letters provides food for thought in our public debates over the role
of cryptography in the relationship between a government and its people.
With the sender's permission, I am releasing the letters to the public,
with the sender's name deleted, and some minor typos corrected.
This material may be reposted, unmodified, to any other Usenet newsgroups
that may be interested.

  -Philip Zimmermann

Date: Sat, 09 Mar 1996 19:33:00 +0000 (GMT)
>From: [name and email address deleted] 
Subject: Thanks from Central Europe
To: Philip Zimmermann <•••@••.•••>

Dear Phil,

This is a short note to say a very big thank you for all your work with 

We are part of a network of not-for-profit agencies, working among other 
things for human rights in the Balkans.  Our various offices have been 
raided by various police forces looking for evidence of spying or 
subversive activities.  Our mail has been regularly tampered with and our 
office in Romania has a constant wiretap.

Last year in Zagreb, the security police raided our office and 
confiscated our computers in the hope of retrieving information about the 
identity of people who had complained about their activites.

In every instance PGP has allowed us to communicate and protect 
our files from any attempt to gain access to our material as we PKZIP 
all our files and then use PGP's conventional encryption facility to 
protect all sensitive files.

Without PGP we would not be able to function and protect our client 
group.  Thanks to PGP I can sleep at night knowing that no amount of 
prying will compromise our clients.

I have even had 13 days in prison for not revealing our PGP pass phrases,
but it was a very small price to pay for protecting our clients.

I have always meant to write and thank you, and now I am finally doing 
it.  PGP has a value beyond all words and my personal gratitude to you is 
immense.  Your work protects the innocent and the weak, and as such 
promotes peace and justice, quite frankly you deserve the biggest medal 
that can be found. 

Please be encouraged that PGP is a considerable benefit people in need, 
and your work is appreciated.

Could you please tell us where in Europe we can find someone who can 
tell us more about using PGP and upgrades etc.  If you can't tell us 
these details because of the export restriction thing, can you point us 
at someone who could tell us something without compromising you.

Many thanks.

  [ I sent him a response and asked him if I could disclose his inspiring
    letter to the press, and also possibly use it in our ongoing
    legislative debates regarding cryptography if the opportunity arises
    to make arguments in front of a Congressional committee.  I also
    asked him to supply some real examples of how PGP is used to protect
    human rights.  He wrote back that I can use his letters if I delete
    his organization's name "to protect the innocent".  Then he sent me
    the following letter.  --PRZ ]

Date: Mon, 18 Mar 1996 15:32:00 +0000 (GMT)
>From: [name and email address deleted]
Subject: More News from [Central Europe]
To: Philip Zimmermann <•••@••.•••>

Dear Phil,

I have been thinking of specific events that might be of use to your
Congressional presentation.  I am concerned that our brushes with
Governments might be double-edged in that Congress might not like the
idea of Human Rights groups avoiding Police investigation, even if such
investigations violated Human Rights.

However we have one case where you could highlight the value of PGP to
"Good" citizens, we were working with a young woman who was being
pursued by Islamic extremists.  She was an ethnic Muslim from Albania who
had converted to Christianity and as a result had been attacked, raped
and threatened persistently with further attack.

We were helping to protect her from further attack by hiding her in
Hungary, and eventually we helped her travel to Holland, while in
Holland she sought asylum, which was granted after the Dutch Government
acknowledged that she was directly threatened with rape, harrassment and
even death should her whereabouts be known to her persecutors.

Two weeks before she was granted asylum, two armed men raided our office
in Hungary looking for her, they tried to bring up files on our
computers but were prevented from accessing her files by PGP.  They took
copies of the files that they believed related to her, so any simple
password or ordinary encryption would eventually have been overcome.
They were prepared to take the whole computer if necessary so the only
real line of defence was PGP.

Thanks to PGP her whereabouts and her life were protected.  This incident
and the young woman's circumstances are well documented.

We have also had other incidents where PGP protected files and so
protected innocent people.  If the US confirms the dubious precedent of
denying privacy in a cavalier fashion by trying to deny people PGP , it
will be used as a standard by which others will then engineer the
outlawing of any privacy.  Partial privacy is no privacy.  Our privacy
should not be by the grace and favour of any Government.  Mediums that
ensured privacy in the past have been compromised by advances in
technology, so it is only fair that they should be replaced by other
secure methods of protecting our thoughts and ideas, as well as

I wish you well with your hearing.

Yours most sincerely

[name deleted]
[end of quoted material]

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