Burn After Texting

Ryan Gallagher praises a forthcoming iPhone app that could revolutionize confidential file-sharing:

The technology uses a sophisticated peer-to-peer encryption technique that allows users to send encrypted files of up to 60 megabytes through a “Silent Text” app. The sender of the file can set it on a timer so that it will automatically “burn”—deleting it from both devices after a set period of, say, seven minutes. … It’s a game-changer that will almost certainly make life easier and safer for journalists, dissidents, diplomats, and companies trying to evade state surveillance or corporate espionage. According to [Silent Circle CEO Mike] Janke, a handful of human rights reporters in Afghanistan, Jordan, and South Sudan have tried Silent Text’s data transfer capability out, using it to send photos, voice recordings, videos, and PDFs securely.

Joseph Volpe details Janke’s plans to keep Silent Circle free from government influence:

[T]he company [has] pledged to not cooperate with surveillance requests from law enforcement, nor will it compromise the service’s integrity by introducing a “backdoor” for the FBI. That’s a mighty strong stance to take against Uncle Sam, but Janke’s not concerned. If the United States government does eventually prove an impediment, he’s ready to move Silent Circle’s shop to a locale that understands “…every [citizens’] right to communicate… without the fear of it being… used by criminals, stored by governments, and aggregated by companies that sell it.”