New App Gives Any iPhone Government-Level Encryption Powers

Privacy is becoming something that is more and more valued as technology seeps deeper into our lives, but it's also becoming harder and harder to find in pure form. Fortunately, two former Navy Seals and a cryptology legend are working on an iPhone app called Silent Circle.

The app mostly does what your phone already does — places calls, sends texts and emails, shares photos. But it does so under heavy encryption unmatched by nearly every facet of the iPhone's default security measures (iMessage is hardware encrypted, for what it's worth). Using the ZRTP encryption technology developed by Silent Circle co-founder Phil Zimmerman (who also offered some of the first open-source cryptology tools in the early '90s), the app's encryption is so good that mercenaries have been using the technology in the field.

But it won't only be for high-end military use. For $US20 a month, anyone can call upon the services of Silent Circle, which performs all encryption on the iPhone itself, preventing a government or law enforcement agency forcing a third party to hand over its logs and transcripts. It even has a self-destruct mode, which will erase a text, email or image after a set period of time, making it especially great for those adorned in tin foil.

As Buzzfeed points out, there is the concern that this will make it easier for criminals to do wrong when the app becomes available next week (tools for Android and Mac are soon to follow). Perhaps that's the case, but it will also keep unchecked public institutions from running wild on citizen's privacy rights. It's a trade-off I'm OK with. What about you? [Buzzfeed FWD]

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