Silent Circle, a company specializing in encrypted communications, released a messaging application for Android devices that encrypts and securely erases messages and files. The application, called Silent Text, lets users specify a time period for which the receiver can view a message before it is erased. It also keep the keys used to encrypt and decrypt content on the user’s device, which protects the company from law enforcement requests for the keys. Silent Circle, whose co-founder is encryption expert Phil Zimmerman, abandoned its privacy-focused email service in early August following leaks by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden detailing the U.S. government’s vast electronic surveillance efforts.
How it works – The Silent Text application generates a new encryption key for each new message. The key is then destroyed “so even if your device is examined, there are no keys to be had after the conversation is complete,” according to the company’s website. Only the sender and receiver can view a message. If it was intercepted in transit, it would be unreadable unless the interloper could obtain the encryption key or use brute-force computing power to decrypt the content. The “Burn Notice” feature lets the sender set a time for a text, video, voice recording or picture to be erased from the recipient’s device. The sender can also recall or destroy previously sent messages. It supports files up to 100 MB. Although I’ve been reading mixed reviews about the app and I’m not sure if casual users would be willing to pay the services fees, This sounds pretty cool. I especially like the fact that the keys are stored on the device. Here at the Villainous VooDoo, we take our privacy seriously and welcome tools such as Silent Text available to the general public. Hopefully, in the near future we can begin seeing such apps offered free. Doom on you, NSA.