Why Johnny Can’t Encrypt, 2013 Addendum


The sadder reality not realized in this WaPo article is that we had actually solved the usability issues with email encryption and adapted it to modern environments internally, but the product was killed because it didn’t serve an enterprise-only strategy.

The real downfall of PGP email encryption in the end was not usability but rather several years of squeezing privacy and consumer revenue out of the company in favor of enterprise security in the 2006-2009 period.

You’d almost think it was a conspiracy looking back now on the tragic worldwide impact of those decisions many years later where email encryption has gone from small to none.

Usability is not the problem with email encryption. Good design is. Followed by a company capable of seeing it to completion. We’re in a similar situation to the world in which Palm, BB, WinCE, Symbian, and others existed as “smart phones” before everyone realized what a real Smart Phone was thanks to Steve Jobs. The difference is that Apple completed the mission, and PGP did not.

If you want to know why email encryption is not ubiquitous today, that’s it.