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[liberationtech] Crowd steps up to fund 'NSA-proof' app

phryk input at phryk.net
Thu Jul 11 23:29:54 PDT 2013


On Thu, 11 Jul 2013 23:09:04 -0700
Brian Conley <brianc at smallworldnews.tv> wrote:

> If it's not open source we aren't trusting it, so wait and see.

My thought exactly. The companies involved in PRISM denied giving the
feds access to their data, so why won't some guys I've never even heard
of before not do the same?

They answer the question if it will be open source on their Blog[1] like
this:

> We have all intentions of opening up the source as much as possible
> for scrutiny and help! What we really want people to understand
> however, is that Open Source in itself does not guarantee any privacy
> or safety. It sure helps with transparency, but technology by itself
> is not enough. The fundamental benefits of Heml.is will be the app
> together with our backend infrastructure, which is what really makes
> the system interesting and secure.

From this I imply 2 things:
	- It's not going to be completely open source (bleh!)
	- It's not p2p since they have some sort of "backend
	  infrastructure" (bleh, too!)

They also intend to publish the app with a freemium model, something
for which I don't really see the need after collecting over 100k$
(currently 134,347).

Then they come up with some pretty unbelievable claims before the
product is even out. Like 
"Developing the most secure, fun and sexy messenger IN THE UNIVERSE!"

They also directly say that you won't be able to run your own server,
something which I *always* dislike. Oh, and messages will be stored on
their server until delivery, so we already know where the feds will
want to listen.

The Aljazeera post also hails it as "the first secure mobile messaging
system.". Did I miss something there? What about XMPP+OTR? What about
Whispers' TextSecure?

All in all, this is not something that seems trustworthy to me, and I
don't even know anything of use on crypto. My personal evaluation is
that donating to other open source crypto solutions would be much more
efficient and useful. At best, sponsor many different projects so that
when one project is (temporarily) compromised by an 0day or something
like that you still have alternatives. With heml.is even the
compromisation of one server would completely break it. Once
their infrastructure is compromised, the communication of ALL its'
users is compromised. This wouldn't even have to do anything with
heml.is' security itself but could just be a software update where the
default of one small option was changed…


Just my 2cents,

	phryk


[1]
http://hemlismessenger.wordpress.com/2013/07/10/first-bunch-of-questions-from-our-funders-answered/



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