This year, the Faculty of Sciences and the Ecole polytechnique will jointly award the title of Doctor Honoris Causa to Mr. Philip Zimmermann.
Phil Zimmermann is the creator of Pretty Good Privacy (PGP), the most widely used encryption software in the world, and is one of the best-known security analyst around. Phil is based in Geneva, where he heads the company Silent Circle - the secure communications company he co-founded in 2012.
In May 18th, 2016 Phil is traveling to Brussels to be granted the title of Doctor Honoris Causa of our University. On this special occasion, he will deliver a talk about his views and insights on encryption, privacy, and avoiding a surveillance state. The conference will take place in room UD2.218 A at 18:30 and will be followed by a drink.
This debate is now running since the early beginnings of the digital age. On the one side, governments are warning again about the dark side of encryption, claiming that it allows criminals to plot in secret because police and intelligence agencies can no longer listen to their communications. On the other side are the civil liberties campaigners and even the United Nations which argues that access to encryption is essential to protect basic human rights. Added to this is the well known fact that any backdoor available to the government will soon or later be exploited by dictators, hackers, and unlawful organisations.
Phil Zimmermann’s pioneering work in cryptography has won him numerous technical and humanitarian accolades. In 2008, for example, PC World named him one of the "top 50 tech visionaries" of the last 50 years. In 2012, the Internet Society inducted him into its Internet Hall of Fame. And in 2014, he was inducted into the Cyber Security Hall of Fame and was named by Foreign Policy Magazine as one of that year’s leading global thinkers. His work on the groundbreaking Blackphone led to Silent Circle being named one of the "Most Innovative Companies of 2014."