Using GPG in the US

Richard Lynch lynch at
Mon Nov 23 17:11:55 CET 1998

At 5:06 PM 11/23/98, Jimmy Kaplowitz wrote:
>Thanks, Brian, and everyone else who responded to my questions. (I guess
>that would be you, Casey :) The replies were very helpful. One further
>question, though. What are the RSA and IDEA plugins, why can't I legally
>use them in the US, and is there some legal way to get that
>functionality with GPG in the US?

>>    1) Patented code in the RSA and IDEA algorithms.  Fortunately, last
>>       year Diffie-Hellman expired and the ElGamal variation on it has
>>       no patent claims.  There is a (non-credible, IMHO) claim that
>>       the Digital Signature Standard is patented, but NIST says its
>>       not and that it's freely available.  Since PGP5 moved to (mostly)
>>       Elgamal and CAST5 the patent issue is moot.

At the risk of sounding like a jerk, the answer seems pretty clear:

These are patented technologies.  The holders of these patents can bring
suit against people who use them without paying license fees.  The only
legal way to use them is to contact RSA (the company) and pay them big
piles of money.  I assume IDEA is similar, but am not familiar with IDEA.

-- "TANSTAAFL" Rich lynch at     webmaster@  and www. all of:
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