June 17, 1997 5:50 PM PDT

Eudora stays private with PGP

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Qualcomm (QCOM) has bundled encryption software from Pretty Good Privacy with its popular email software Eudora Pro and freeware Eudora Lite.

That breaks a string of wins for RSA Data Security, a PGP competitor whose encryption algorithms are widely used in the S/MIME protocol for secure email.

That means Eudora customers who use the new version of Qualcomm's products won't be able to communicate securely with users of S/MIME technology. However, in today's announcement, PGP said it would make RSA algorithms available on its Web site for $5, in order to address the interoperability issue.

"It was very surprising to us to hear Qualcomm had decided to offer PGP," said RSA's Scott Schnell, vice president of marketing. "We don't see how it makes much sense. There's clear feedback from everybody--from standards bodies and analysts to vendors--that everybody has very specifically moved and agreed on S/MIME as a way to send, encrypt, and digitally sign email."

PGP and RSA have a long history of enmity and are currently locked in a legal dispute over fees that RSA claims it is owed by PGP.

"Qualcomm has chosen PGP as its encryption software based on interoperability, robustness, and very strong keys," a Qualcomm spokesman said.

Both PGP and RSA claim its secure email protocol is the emerging standard on the Internet, although S/MIME has more supporters than PGP.

To date, RSA has certified as S/MIME compliant email software from Deming, Entrust Technologies, Netscape Communications, Microsoft, Worldtalk, Frontier Technologies, OpenSoft, ConnectSoft, and Baltimore Technologies.

 

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