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[liberationtech] NSA-resistant Android application 'burns' sensitive messages

Brian Conley brianc at
Tue Sep 3 20:34:59 PDT 2013

Send your thoughts about Jeremy's ridiculous press release for Silent Text

On Tue, Sep 3, 2013 at 7:42 PM, Yosem Companys <companys at>wrote:

> September 03, 2013, 9:55 PM
> NSA-resistant Android application 'burns' sensitive messages
> Silent Circle's messaging application ensures only the sender and
> receiver can view messages and files
> By Jeremy Kirk, IDG News Service
> Silent Circle, a company specializing in encrypted communications,
> released a messaging application for Android devices on Wednesday that
> encrypts and securely erases messages and files.
> The application, called Silent Text, lets users specify a time period
> for which the receiver can view a message before it is erased. It also
> keep the keys used to encrypt and decrypt content on the user's
> device, which protects the company from law enforcement requests for
> the keys.
> Silent Circle, whose co-founder is encryption expert Phil Zimmerman,
> abandoned its privacy-focused email service in early August following
> leaks by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden detailing the U.S.
> government's vast electronic surveillance efforts.
> The documents passed by Snowden to The Guardian and The Washington
> Post newspapers describe a host of programs designed to intercept
> email and phone metadata in a broad effort aimed at tracking national
> security threats. The leak also prompted a vigorous privacy debate and
> interest in how to better shield electronic communications from
> spying.
> Silent Circle in Washington, D.C., also offers a subscription service,
> Silent Phone, an encrypted VoIP (voice over IP) application for secure
> phone and video calls over Wi-Fi, 3G or 4G LTE over its peer-to-peer
> network.
> The Silent Text application generates a new encryption key for each
> new message. The key is then destroyed "so even if your device is
> examined, there are no keys to be had after the conversation is
> complete," according to the company's website.
> Only the sender and receiver can view a message. If it was intercepted
> in transit, it would be unreadable unless the interloper could obtain
> the encryption key or use brute-force computing power to decrypt the
> content.
> The "Burn Notice" feature lets the sender set a time for a text,
> video, voice recording or picture to be erased from the recipient's
> device. The sender can also recall or destroy previously sent
> messages. It supports files up to 100 MB.
> Silent Text's destruction feature is similar to one included in Wickr,
> a secure encrypted messaging application for iOS.
> Silent Circle, along with Lavabit -- an email provider believed to
> have been used by Snowden -- shut down their email services in early
> August. Lavabit's founder Ladar Levison wrote he was under pressure
> from the U.S. government but could not describe the legal issues.
> A short time later, Silent Circle, which said it had not received any
> subpoenas, also opted to shut down its email service as a pre-emptive
> move. It said it would focus instead on real-time mobile
> communications, asserting that the protocols email uses make it
> vulnerable to snooping.
> Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk at Follow me on
> Twitter: @jeremy_kirk
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Brian Conley

Director, Small World News

m: 646.285.2046

Skype: brianjoelconley
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