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[liberationtech] Wickr app aims to safeguard online privacy

Rich Kulawiec rsk at gsp.org
Tue Feb 5 03:24:48 PST 2013


On Sun, Feb 03, 2013 at 10:34:17PM +0700, Nathan of Guardian wrote:
> Just to be clear, I am not against 1) trying to make money through
> software 2) tech startups 3) enthusiastic tech journalism and 4)
> entrepreneurs who truly want to make people's lives better.

I concur that these are good goals, nice goals, fine goals.

However...and to focus on one issue that Wickr and Gryphn have in common:

> [...] setting self-destruct timers that will delete the communication
> from the recipient's phone.

This is -- depending on how you look at it -- worthless or malware.

If it doesn't work, then it doesn't do what it says it does and any
illusion of security it provides is just that.  (My guess: it doesn't
work.  It can probably be undercut at the network, OS, application
or firmware levels.   And then there's "take a picture of the screen".)

If it does work, then it does so by subverting someone's desire to
make their hardware -- their property -- work the way they wish it to.
We call that "malware".

I'm not picking on these, per se: I can say and have said the same thing
about DRM-enforcement software: it's malware, because it endeavors to take
away control of someone's hardware and hand it over to someone else.

But I do think it's long past time to abandon the entire concept of
"self-destructing X".  I've watched many attempts to make it work
and they've all failed.

---rsk




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