The World’s Email Encryption Software Relies on One Guy, Who is Going Broke | ProPublica

Werner Koch’s code powers the email encryption programs around the world. If only somebody would pay him for the work.

In 1997, Werner Koch attended a talk by free software evangelist Richard Stallman. Stallman urged the crowd to write their own version of existing encryption software. Inspired, Koch decided to try. „I figured I can do it,“ he recalled. (Willi Nothers for ProPublica)




Werner Koch wrote the software, known as Gnu Privacy Guard, in 1997, and since then has been almost single-handedly keeping it alive with patches and updates from his home in Erkrath, Germany. Now 53, he is running out of money and patience with being underfunded.


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