The International Data Encryption Algorithm IDEA was originally intended as the replacement for the Data Encryption Standard (DEA) that was used by the U.S. for protection of financial data. This algorithm was developed by Xuejia Lai and James Massey of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. It was originally called Improved Proposed Encryption Standard (IPES). IDEA was introduced in 1991 and was applied to the Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) v.2.0, an encryption computer program that provides authentication for data communication.
As of 2010, it is currently being used in highly secure applications for manufacturing, broadband Internet services, telecommunications, financial institutions, digital television and the U.S. government. It is also been successful in business to business applications (B2B) and as an optional algorithm in the OpenPGP standard.
IDEA has been patented for use in Austria, Germany, Italy, France, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Netherlands, UK and the United States. These patents are due to expire in 2010-2011. After the patents expire, IDEA NXT algorithm (previously called FOX) is set to be the successor.