Leeds-based company jeftel, which is backed by a local mystery millionaire, has launched a 'leak proof' email system for a £25 (US$45) annual subscription.
And, if you recommend jeftel's software to a friend, the company will donate a fiver to charity Save the Children.
Jeftel's system works alongside standard email packages but uses peer-to-peer technology and encryption to keep emails away from prying eyes and stop them from being copied on the string of servers that handle normal emails.
Robert Barr, jeftel head of development, said: "It is seamless and can be installed by a non-technical person in a couple of minutes. Company directors and people who need to communicate privately need something that's easy to install and use.
"Regular email is just not secure. Around 70 per cent of security breaches are internal. And most encryption software is so complicated that it needs the help of the IT department to set up and run - and there goes your security."
Barr also pointed out that the system protects against viruses. He expects 10 million users by 2007.
Integrates with standard e-mail
Once installed, the 1MB application integrates with standard e-mail programs and places a button on the toolbar. But to be secure, the email recipient must also use the software.
Head of a 21-person development team, Barr is not forthcoming about the company's other activities. "Another business that we are working on may go public next year. All of out projects are privately funded by individuals. Yorkshire is quite a stronghold of technology millionaires," he said.
The email project is backed by a single individual, he said. Originally priced at £15 (US$27), the email application's price was raised to the level of antivirus and anti-spam software because the team thought otherwise it might not be taken seriously.
Barr sees bankers as natural users of the system along with other professions which rely on confidentiality, such as lawyers and doctors. To meet compliance issues, it can be set to store copies of emails.