Government-used cryptography…

Government-used cryptography tool seeks funds

Published on: 19/12/2013

GNU Privacy Guard (GNUPG), a free software cryptography solution to protect emails and files from interception, launched today a call for funding to build interfaces for mobile devices, offer new web services, improve documentation and revamp the project's website. The software developers hope to gather 24,000 euro using crowdfunding. The software is used by several public administrations, including the German Ministry of the Interior and the country's Federal Office for Information Security (BSI).

GNUPG's crowdfunding campaign will run for 40 days. The campaign was launched at 10:00 this Thursday morning. At 17:00, donors had already pledged over half the requested amount. Donors can choose between donating 5 euro in exchange for their name being mentioned on the site, 12 euro in exchange for a sticker. Pledging 35 euro will receive a t-shirt and those that give 60 euro or more are given an email address at the domain.

GNUPG is used by several European public administrations, including the state-owned Deutsche Bahn (the German railway company). The cryptography solution is also used by Germany's Federal Office for Information Security (BSI). In 2006 the agency funded the development of GPG4win, open source software that allows GNUPG to be combined with a proprietary vendor's operating systems and that adds cryptography to the vendor's proprietary email application.

Secure communication

Werner Koch, initial developer of GNUPG, was one of those hired by BSI in 2006 to develop GPG4Win, following a public tender. Koch: "The BSI also ordered extensions to GnuPG, the S/MIME part. This is rolled out to all their desktops and thus the staff is able to communicate securely using S/MIME and OpenPGP."

Two days ago, the German newspaper Tageszeitung reported that the country's Ministry of the Interior is now offering a GNUPG public key, as part of its website contact form. The public key allows others to send mails to the ministry that can only be deciphered by the ministry and the sender.


More information:

GnuPG crowdfunding campaign
TAZ news item (in German)
General PGP key for the Federal Ministry of the Interior (in German)
BMI contact form refering to PGP key (in German)
Gpg4win at the BSI (in German)