Silent Circle is a “surveillance proof” app that simplifies encryption for consumer use

October 20, 2012
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Big Brother may have finally met its match. While governments are making deals with telecommunications companies to eavesdrop on users without fear of lawsuit, there are now technologies that the regular Joe can use to ensure communications are secure. One such technology is made by Silent Circle, a startup made up of a crack team of security experts, led by former Navy SEAL commando Mike Janke, PGP creator Phil Zimmerman and Jon Callas, who created Apple’s disk-encryption system.

The encryption service promises to be simple enough to use. Whether you’re 7 years old 77, or 007, Silent Circle should be as simple as making a phone call or sending a text message, for as long as both you and your correspondent are using the service.

Silent Circle is a peer-to-peer encyrption service, which means there are no central servers that hold the encyrption keys. Each device creates a key when a call is made, and the key is deleted right after the call is ended. Users can even use a “burn” function that sets a time limit on messages you send to another user. If you’re a big fan of Ethan Hunt or Jim Phelps from Mission Impossible, then this is the app for you.

The service costs $20 monthly per user, and Silent Circle says their clients are mainly government organizations, media outfits (for protecting sources), multinational companies, and some celebrities. Silent Circle will offer the service free for non-profit organizations, though, noting that some of these — such as human rights groups — are worried about the security and privacy of their communications.

Silent Circle is available on Android, iOS, Windows Phone, and an email service is in the works.

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