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[liberationtech] Wickr app aims to safeguard online privacy

Julian Oliver julian at julianoliver.com
Sat Feb 2 19:39:22 PST 2013


..on Sun, Feb 03, 2013 at 09:53:23AM +0700, Nathan of Guardian wrote:
> Wow, a patent-pending closed-source app for Freedom(tm) only available on iPhones!
> 
> All of our problems are solved. ;)

Indeed. 

Maybe it'd all be so much cleaner if we simply removed the right to Freedom of
Association, Privacy and Free Speech entirely and made the protection of them a
service, akin to electricity or gas. Perhaps Governments in the West and
elsewhere actually see the denial of these basic rights as part of a market
stimulus plan - every right removed creates jobs and lures young entrepreneurs
like Nico Sell (got to love the name) into the market. Perhaps privacy is
becoming a form of tax.

While I joke, it is clear these companies wish to profit on the emergent
condition that something already and defensably ours (ie our basic human rights)
is an untapped commodity or great potential. Better yet, it comes with the added
bonus of looking like a front-line hero, fighting the Good Fight. 

Perhaps the ongoing threat to these rights is something business people in the
privacy sector desire - as a means to extend their marketplace.  They are,
afterall, mining and trading privacy as a material, a mine that will grow in
offering as various countries, democratic and otherwise, continue efforts to
work against these rights. 

No for-profit, closed source business can be considered a viable partner in the
protection of privacy. Nonetheless, Mr. Sell will probably make a killing
exploiting those less aware.

Cheers,

Julian

> 
> Yosem Companys <companys at stanford.edu> wrote:
> 
> >Wickr app aims to safeguard online privacy
> >February 3, 2013, 4:33 am AFP
> >
> >SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) - Wickr co-founder Nico Sell is working toward
> >"geek utopia," a world where people hold the power when it comes to
> >who sees what they share on the Internet or from their phones.
> >
> >The startup's services -- giving users of Apple gadgets uncrackable
> >communications that can self-destruct -- were beefed up this week,
> >just in time for reports of cyber spies trying to snoop on Western
> >journalists covering China.
> >
> >The free software, available at Apple's online App Store, was enhanced
> >to let people send encrypted file attachments programmed to erase
> >themselves. The original service, released in June, only worked on the
> >data within text, picture, video and voice messages.
> >
> >"It shows the bigger vision of where we are going," Sell said Friday.
> >
> >"We plan on overlaying this protocol on every communication channel
> >that exists in the online world," continued Sell, a key
> >behind-the-scenes figure at the famous Def Con hacker gathering that
> >takes place annually in Las Vegas.
> >
> >"It's geek utopia, and we think we can get to it."
> >
> >Wickr has a patent pending on technology which Sell said could give
> >people ways to safeguard anything they send or put online, even
> >digital bytes in Internet telephone calls or posts to leading social
> >network Facebook.
> >
> >"We expect to have it all covered by the end of the year," Sell said.
> >"The idea is you would use Wickr to interact with all the other
> >networks."
> >
> >Wickr will evolve to be able to hide pictures posted at Facebook
> >behind "decoy images," with permission needed to look behind the
> >masks, according to company co-founder Robert Statica.
> >
> >"There will be a decoy image that the public sees, and you clear your
> >friends or your group to see the real image," explained Statica, a
> >professor of information technology at the New Jersey Institute of
> >Technology.
> >
> >"We will let people make regular Facebook posts if they don't care
> >about privacy."
> >
> >Unlike many other apps, Wickr is designed not to store any information
> >mined from people's contact lists.
> >
> >"Right now Facebook has all my contact information even though I
> >boycott Facebook, because a bunch of my friends uploaded it with their
> >contact lists," Sell said. "This needs to change as an industry."
> >
> >The Wickr app has been downloaded hundreds of thousands of times in
> >more than 110 countries since the software crafted for iPhones, iPads,
> >and iPod touch devices hit the App Store, according to the
> >co-founders.
> >
> >"Private communication is a universal human right," Sell said.
> >"Freedom: there's an app for that."
> >
> >The San Francisco-based startup behind the software is working on
> >versions of Wickr for smartphones or tablets powered by Google-backed
> >Android software.
> >
> >Wickr's business plan is to have hundreds of millions of people
> >globally use the free versions of the application while a small
> >percentage opt to pay for premium features such as being able to
> >control larger data files.
> >
> >"We are trying to flip messaging on its head and give control to the
> >sender instead of the receiver or the servers in between," Sell said.
> >
> >"We can't expect these cloud services to protect our privacy; we need
> >to do it ourselves."
> >
> >More information about the application was available online at
> >mywickr.com.
> >--
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-- 
Julian Oliver
http://julianoliver.com
http://criticalengineering.org



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