Portrait of Werner Koch in January 2015.
|Born||July 11, 1961|
|Known for||GNU Privacy Guard|
Werner Koch (born July 11, 1961) is a German free software developer. He is best known as the principal author of the GNU Privacy Guard (GnuPG or GPG). He was also Head of Office and German Vice-Chancellor of the Free Software Foundation Europe.
Life and work
Koch lives in Erkrath, near Düsseldorf, Germany. He began writing GNU Privacy Guard in 1997, inspired by attending a talk by Richard Stallman who made a call for someone to write a replacement for Phil Zimmermann's Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) which was subject to U.S. export restrictions. The first release of GNU Privacy Guard was in 1999 and it went on to became the basis for most of the popular email encryption programs: GPGTools, Enigmail, and Koch's own Gpg4win, the primary free encryption program for Microsoft Windows.
In 1999 Koch, via the German Unix User Group which he served on the board of, received a grant of 318,000 marks (about $170,000 US) from the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology to make GPG compatible with Microsoft Windows. In 2005 he received a contract from the German government to support the development of S/MIME. In 2015 he was awarded a one-time grant of $60,000 US from the Linux Foundation's Core Infrastructure Initiative. Also in 2015 Facebook and Stripe each pledged to annually donate $50,000 US to GPG development.
- Wayner, Peter (November 19, 1999). "Germany Awards Grant for Encryption". The New York Times. Retrieved February 6, 2015.
- Angwin, Julia (February 5, 2015). "The World’s Email Encryption Software Relies on One Guy, Who is Going Broke". ProPublica. Retrieved February 6, 2015.
- Thomson, Iain (February 5, 2015). "Internet lobs $$$s at dev of crucial GPG tool after he runs short of cash". The Register. Retrieved February 6, 2015.
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