The 'spy-free' app you can use to stop surveillance

Summary:A new "surveillance proof" application aims to make encryption easy for the general public and businesses alike.

A new "surveillance proof" application aims to make encryption easy for the general public and businesses alike.

How far governments across the globe can go in order to protect the public without invading their privacy is a concern made paramount by modern technology. "Big Brother" -- Nineteen eighty-four notwithstanding -- ranges from wire tapping to drones, but for the general public, email, device location and online activity surveillance can make us nervous.

However, would-be eavesdroppers don't have everything their own way. A team of security experts -- including Apple's disk-encryption system designer Jon Callas -- led by former Navy SEAL commando Mike Janke have developed what they describe as new, worldwide encryption tools.

The encryption service known as "Silent Circle" is subscription-based access to four services -- Silent Phone, Silent Text, Silent Eyes and Silent Mail. Every communication is processed through a peer-to-peer service, which means there is no central database where data or keys are stored. When you make a call or send a text, an individual key is generated by the service, and then immediately deleted once the data is processed. In addition, a "burn" function lets you set an auto-timer on messages sent -- almost like a self-destruct function.

For optimal encryption, both sender and receiver need to have the app installed. If not, then data is encrypted until it reaches the device service provider. In case of emails, this is not necessary.

According to the developers of Silent Circle, the app is simple enough to use for the general public. They believe that for governments, media, celebrities and businesses operating in China the app will be especially useful -- but the general public can also benefit.

If you're worried about third-party snooping, access will cost you $20 a month. Apps for the iPhone and iPad are available. Windows, Android and an email service are promised to soon follow.

Image credit: Secret Circle

This post was originally published on

Topics: Innovation


Charlie Osborne, a medical anthropologist who studied at the University of Kent, UK, is a journalist, freelance photographer and former teacher. She has spent years travelling and working across Europe and the Middle East as a teacher, and has been involved in the running of businesses ranging from media and events to B2B sales. Charli... Full Bio

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