Stanford EE Computer Systems Colloquium

4:15PM, Wednesday, Mar 7, 2007
HP Auditorium, Gates Computer Science Building B01

VoIP encryption in a surveillance society

Philip Zimmermann
About the talk:

Phil will talk about how the debate on the use of crypto has shifted since the 1990s, when it was a a clash between civil liberties and law enforcement. Today it is an essential part of protecting our economies from bad guys. Soon, new seismic realignment of government attitudes about encryption may appear. Historically, law enforcement has benefited from a strong asymmetry in the feasibility of government or criminals wiretapping old fashioned telephone calls. As we migrate to VoIP, that asymmetry collapses. Without VoIP encryption, organized crime will be able to wiretap prosecutors and judges, leading law enforcement to see VoIP encryption in a different light. In the 1990s, the crypto debate was about averting omniscience in governments, but today the encrypted VoIP debate may be about averting omniscience in criminals.


There will be no downloadable visuals for this talk.

Of interest:

From the San Jose Mercury News, Sunday Feb 25, 2007. E-MAIL ENCRYPTION GURU FIXES ON RISKS OF VOIP

About the speaker:

Phil Zimmermann is the creator of Pretty Good Privacy (PGP), the most widely used email encryption software in the world. He is also known for his work in VoIP encryption protocols, notably ZRTP and Zfone.

For a full biography and other information visit

Contact information:

Phil Zimmermann
prz at