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Encrypted Communications via App: Silent Circle

The Tibetan government, law firms, and human rights groups in Sudan are all using a new encrypted communications tool that easily fits onto one’s smartphone. The application is called Silent Circle encrypts voice, text, video and allows a file-transfer protocol across handsets. The app uses ZRTP key agreement protocol to ensure private communications. The text app, Silent Text, uses an encrypted instant messaging system that also contains features like a burn function (which deletes texts after a certain time period) and encrypted geotagging to share location. The most crucial feature, is that the encryption keys are located on the devices within the app, not on a server, boosting security against third-party interference.

This is a greatly powerful application, but there is obviously a fair bit of cost function as well. To make and receive voice calls from any phone number using the app or the desktop application, costs $24 a month. To be able to simply text others that have the Silent text apps would cost $9.95 a month. While there is a bit of cost, it is interesting to see that people do value their privacy and are willing to pay for some basic anonymity.

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This article is interesting, because it highlights the extent that some people will go through to protect their anonymity. There is definitely a market for these types of services and multiple types of customers possible, ranging from those who need security, such as lawyers or CEO’s of larger companies all the way down to those who are in fear of government information collection. Simply put, there’s something to be said for people who value their privacy and people are more then willing to pay for it.


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