An article by Julia Angwin on ProPublica has become the catalyst for an avalanche of much needed donations for the survival of Gnu Privacy Guard (GPG), a free email encryption software that’s used by security and privacy-minded people across the globe.
GnuPG is a free implementation of the OpenPGP standard, and allows users to encrypt and sign their data and communication. It’s a command line tool that can be easily integrated with other applications.
The software was built in 1997 by German developer Werner Koch, who through the years and with the help of employees and volunteers kept the software updated and working. But the project was sustained by donations, and through the years they dried up.
Koch resolved to stop working on the software in early 2013, but after Edward Snowden’s revelations, he decided to continue because “this was not the time to cancel.” Snowden himself was a GPG user, and made a guide for journalists on how to use it.
Koch started a donation drive early last year, but until the end of November he received less than 7,000 Euros (his goal was 120,000). After the well-timed article that went viral, the donations came pouring in.
“Due to this ProPublica article we received more than 120,000 Euros of individual donations on a single day. There is even more: The Core Infrastructure Initiative granted 60,000 $ for 2015. Our payment service Stripe and Facebook will each give 50,000 $ to the project. And finally the Wau Holland Stiftung is collecting tax deductible funds for GnuPG (7000 Euros in December; numbers for January will be posted soon),” he shared on the project’s website.
After thanking all who supported the project – either by donating money, or knowledge and time – he pointed out that “GnuPG does not stand alone: there are many other projects, often unknown to most people, which are essential to keep the free Internet running. Many of them are run by volunteers who spend a lot of unpaid time on them. They need our support as well.”
If you want to make a donation to the GPG project, check out these instructions on how to do it.