Is an NSA-Proof Messaging App Possible? Heml.is Thinks So

by July 24, 2013 07/24/13
12 Bravo Distance 03

Hemlis means “Secret” in Swedish and hopes to bring a messaging app to the market that will prohibit anyone from listening in, including Hemlis themselves.

Companies that we all depend on for our news, information and social experiences have been forced to disclose their user data and even prohibited from telling their users that they have. Even our private communication is susceptible to monitoring.

Secrets are only secrets if they are secret, says Hemlis. To keep our future text messages that way, Hemlis will be based on end-to-end encryption using XMPP w/ PGP. If you’re not familiar with XMPP, it’s an open-source instant messaging protocol that anyone can use. Furthermore, because of the flexibility of XMPP, custom functionality can be built on top of it. In this case, that functionality is PGP (Pretty Good Privacy.)

Current Secure Offerings

The concept of a secure messaging platform isn’t new and there are a few platforms currently available.

Wickr

You may remember that we took a look at Silent Circle’s text messaging offering some time ago and noted that it was a proprietary system and that “Proprietary security software is an oxymoron — if the user is not fundamentally in control of the software, the user has no security.” [source]

Another app worth looking into is Wickr, which offers military-grade encryption of text, picture, audio and video messages. It also features sender-based control over who can read messages, where and for how long.

Apple has also been public about not being able to access communications over FaceTime video chat and iMessage, as the data is encrypted between sender and receiver.

Hemlis hasn’t given a release date for their app, other than saying that it will be ready when it’s done, but has said it will be available through the Apple App Store and on the Android through Google Play.


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Austin
Austin

Threema is an app available on iPhone and Android right now that does secure private messaging that not even Threema can get to.

C3rvantes
C3rvantes

Sweet. Now the gubmint won't see my go code..The sparrows are flying again.

C3rvantes
C3rvantes

Sweet. Now the gubmint won't see my go code..The sparrows are flying again.

NotMe
NotMe

Sounds like Textsecure from Whispersystems?

NotMe
NotMe

Sounds like Textsecure from Whispersystems?

Vinnie
Vinnie

how exactly is silentcircle a propriety system?  It uses Internet standards like ZRTP and XMPP?

Vinnie
Vinnie

how exactly is silentcircle a propriety system?  It uses Internet standards like ZRTP and XMPP?



JCrist
JCrist

This is major.  I've spent some time today reading Trayvon Martin's text messages from text, made me think about this.  Of course, if the G pays for your phone, they should be able to read the texts, but not mine.  My friends will have to use iMessage if they want me anymore

JCrist
JCrist

This is major.  I've spent some time today reading Trayvon Martin's text messages, made me think about this.  Of course, if the G pays for your phone, they should be able to read the texts, but not mine.  My friends will have to use iMessage if they want me anymore

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