Silent Circle

“We feel that every citizen has a right to communicate,” Janke says, “the right to send data without the fear of it being grabbed out of the air and used by criminals, stored by governments, and aggregated by companies that sell it.”

– Slate

Bravo to Janke for standing up for users – i.e citizens – rights to freedom of speech. This is certainly an interesting product from a usability perspective and the fact that Slate and Engadget are both excited about speaks well of it.

© dbking

© dbking

Someone else who speaks well of it is the slightly strange fellow on the train a few days ago.  This chap was showing off about his knowledge of train ettiquette and asking if the train had Wifi (main line trains in London do not have Wifi) and then took the opportunity to proselytise about his “favourite application” (which relies on Wifi, or so I hear) while I politely studied my phone. That kind of marketing, where fans throw away the train etiquette rule book to not only speak but sell your product for you, that is worth a fortune.

There is a downside hidden in all the hype. The applications is hosted under the direct jurisdiction of the US Federal Government in Washington DC.

Slate writes:

The company, which is headquartered in Washington, D.C., doesn’t retain metadata (such as times and dates calls are made using Silent Circle), and IP server logs showing who is visiting the Silent Circle website are currently held for only seven days. The same privacy-by-design approach will be adopted to protect the security of users’ encrypted files. When a user sends a picture or document, it will be encrypted, digitally “shredded” into thousands of pieces, and temporarily stored in a “Secure Cloud Broker” until it is transmitted to the recipient. Silent Circle, which charges $20 a month for its service, has no way of accessing the encrypted files because the “key” to open them is held on the users’ devices and then deleted after it has been used to open the files.

Two problems there, the company is right under the nose of Uncle Sam and the “cloud broker” shouts “single point of failure”.

According to Engadget:

the company’s also pledged to not cooperate with surveillance requests from law enforcement, nor will it compromise the service’s integrity by introducing a “backdoor” for the FBI

Not much use when you are shut down, but it’s very encouraging that people are seeing profit in secure communications. Now all we need is an inventor with an idea that the Government cannot attack. If you feel you might one day be that inventor then you may like to come to the Libertarian Home meetup in April where Adrianna Lukas will be talking on the properties of resilient heterogenous systems.