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[liberationtech] Wickr app aims to safeguard online privacy

Nadim Kobeissi nadim at nadim.cc
Sat Feb 2 19:48:39 PST 2013


The combination of tall claims, egotistical behaviour and closed-source,
unreviewed software should be enough to make any reasonable security expert
implore everyone to steer clear from Wickr.


NK


On Sat, Feb 2, 2013 at 10:39 PM, Julian Oliver <julian at julianoliver.com>wrote:

> ..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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