Jon Callas is an American computer security expert, software engineer, user experience designer, and technologist who is the co-founder and former CTO of the global encrypted communications service Silent Circle. He has held major positions at Digital Equipment Corporation, Apple, PGP, and Entrust, and is considered "one of the most respected and well-known names in the mobile security industry." Callas is credited with creating several Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) standards, including OpenPGP, DKIM, and ZRTP, which he wrote.
He has also worked for Bruce Schneier's Counterpane Internet Security, was one of the primary authors of the DKIM method, and was Chief Scientist of the original PGP, Inc. founded by Phil Zimmermann. Callas is a member of the Infosec think tank The Shmoo Group.
Early life and education
Callas received a BSc in mathematics from the University of Maryland at College Park, which he attended from 1977 to 1980. He minored in philosophy and English literature. At Digital Equipment, he designed the PATHWORKS network operating system as well as software for Macintosh client systems and server systems running VMS or UNIX, and created cross-platform communications between computers running Mac OS, VMS, UNIX, Windows and OS/2, using AppleTalk, DECnet, and TCP/IP networks. He also developed software for 3D, PEX, and DDX for OpenVMS, OSF/1 and Windows NT.
He was director of software engineering at Counterpane from 1999 to 2001, serving as "co-architect of Counterpane's Managed Security Monitoring system – a redundant system with adaptive fail-over that monitors networks on three continents." He also "led the engineering team that built the system, taking it from prototype to operational in four months," and "managed Counterpane's export control process, getting approval for the system, including fifteen new ciphers." As Senior Architect at Wave Systems Corporation from 2001 to 2002, he was the lead architect for Wave's EMBASSY Trust System, on which he performed security analysis and created product security subsystems.
He then co-founded the new PGP Corporation in 2002. He worked as a server architect at PGP from July 2002 to October 2009, and during his time at the company was the principal author of the IETF OpenPGP standard, now RFC2440, and developed the PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) Universal Server.
By May 2016 Callas rejoined Apple.
Callas has stated that tech companies are a bigger threat to privacy than the government. His views stem from big tech's mass pooling of personal data for advertising and the polarization within Silicon Valley. While some companies are committed to privacy, many more earn their revenues from selling user data. Interestingly, Callas has stated that if the advertising market takes a downturn, companies that protect their users' data are the most insulated from harm.
He lives in San Jose, California.<ref name=linked/><ref name=merry/>