Privacy being what it is today, people rarely think to themselves: what will Google and Apple do with all of this smartphone data? If you think its benevolent, I’d have a hard time agreeing. Though that hasn’t stopped me from having a smartphone for work purposes, it does cause me to pause sometimes. (and keep my GPS functionality turned off 99% of the time)
Zimmermann’s new company, Silent Circle, plans to release a beta version of an iPhone and Android app in late July that encrypts phone calls and other communications. A final version is scheduled to follow in late September.
This time around, Zimmermann is facing not the possibility of prison time on charges of violating encryption export laws, but a more traditional challenge: convincing would-be users that protecting their privacy is worth paying Silent Circle something like $20 a month.
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Silent Circle’s planned debut comes amid recent polls suggesting that Internet users remain concerned about online data collection (or at least are willing to tell pollsters so), with Facebook topping health insurers, banks, and even the federal government as today’s No. 1 privacy threat. Yet even after a decade of startups that have tried to capitalize on these concerns, consumers spending their own money remain consistently difficult to persuade that paying for privacy is worth it.
Of course, if you ask me, Facebook isn’t the thing that scares me most. It’s the Googleplex and now the rising Appleplex. Either way, having an encrypted service would be great. Anyone remember anon.penet.fi? It’s long gone, but in my mind, having a nice service for the smartphone to protect my data from Google and Apple is a welcome thing.