by Ryan Gallagher Slate
For the past few months, some of the worlds leading cryptographers have been keeping a closely guarded secret about a pioneering new invention. Today, theyve decided its time to tell all.
Back in October, the startup tech firm Silent Circle ruffled governments feathers with a surveillance-proof smartphone app to allow people to make secure phone calls and send texts easily. Now, the company is pushing things even further with a groundbreaking encrypted data transfer app that will enable people to send files securely from a smartphone or tablet at the touch of a button. (For now, its just being released for iPhones and iPads, though Android versions should come soon.) That means photographs, videos, spreadsheets, you name it sent scrambled from one person to another in a matter of seconds.
This has never been done before, boasts Mike Janke, Silent Circles CEO. Its going to revolutionize the ease of privacy and security. Advertisement
True, hes a businessman with a product to sell but I think he is right.
The technology uses a sophisticated peer-to-peer encryption technique that allows users to send encrypted files of up to 60 megabytes through a Silent Text app. The sender of the file can set it on a timer so that it will automatically burn deleting it from both devices after a set period of, say, seven minutes. Until now, sending encrypted documents has been frustratingly difficult for anyone who isnt a sophisticated technology user, requiring knowledge of how to use and install various kinds of specialist software. What Silent Circle has done is to remove these hurdles, essentially democratizing encryption. Its a game-changer that will almost certainly make life easier and safer for journalists, dissidents, diplomats, and companies trying to evade state surveillance or corporate espionage. Governments pushing for more snooping powers, however, will not be pleased.