Thursday, February 7, 2013

How to unravel governments

Silent Circle is a family of applications that can transmit encrypted data between mobile devices.  Right now the apps are only available for iPhone and iPad, but support for other mobile devices is in the works.  From Slate's Ryan Gallagher:
The encryption is peer to peer, which means that Silent Circle doesn’t centrally hold a key that can be used to decrypt people’s messages or phone calls. Each phone generates a unique key every time a call is made, then deletes it straight after the call finishes. When sending text messages or images, there is even a “burn” function, which allows you to set a time limit on anything you send to another Silent Circle user—a bit like how “this tape will self destruct” goes down in Mission: Impossible, but without the smoke or fire. [Oct. 16, 2012]
In a Feb. 4, 2013 article Gallagher says
Until now, sending encrypted documents has been frustratingly difficult for anyone who isn’t 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. It’s 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.


Arthur Allen Fay said...

Two comments: 1) This technology also would enable governments to be impervious to anyone ever discovering their inner workings, but 2) the good news might include enabling individuals to effectively confront any nefarious governmental actions.

George said...

I agree. Gary North: "The potential is so threatening for the government that two things are taking place. First, surveillance agencies are seriously concerned about the possibility of there not being able to monitor what is transmitted. Second, at least 23 other governmental operations units and intelligence agencies have contacted the organization, not to stamp it out, but to sign up for it. They also want privacy for their communications. They don't trust the government."