Over the past few months I have been very excited about the release of the Silent Circle smartphone app that encrypts communications so you could actually have some privacy in this new age of government wiretapping.
Silent Circle was a bit out of my price range, but I expected that it was only a matter of time before other people started developing their own versions, further decentralizing the ability to encrypt messages and giving people the power to take back their privacy, at least to some extent.
Little did I know at the time that this had already happened, a variety of encryption apps had already been developed, and there is a combination of two that will allow you to have private, encrypted voice and text conversations for no charge at all!
As of right now the apps are only available on Android smartphones but it is likely that they will expand to serve other networks as well.
The first app to download is RedPhone, which allows for secure voice calls between two people who both downloaded the app.
RedPhone provides end-to-end encryption for your calls, securing your conversations so that nobody can listen in.
★ RedPhone uses your normal phone number to make and receive calls, so you don’t need yet another identifier.
★ Use the default system dialer and contacts apps to make calls as you normally would.
★ RedPhone will give you the opportunity to upgrade to encrypted calls whenever the person you’re calling also has RedPhone installed.
★ RedPhone calls are encrypted end-to-end, but function just like you’re used to.
★ Free and Open Source, enabling anyone to verify its security by auditing the code.
★ Uses wifi or data, not your plan’s voice minutes.
That will take care of your phone calls, but if you want your text messages to be private as well you should download TextSecure.
TextSecure encrypts your text messages over the air and on your phone. It’s almost identical to the normal text messaging application, and is just as easy to use.
★ A secure and private replacement for the default text messaging app.
★ All messages are encrypted locally, so if your phone is lost or stolen, your messages will be safe.
★ Messages to other TextSecure users are encrypted over the air, protecting your communication in transit.
★ TextSecure is Free and Open Source, enabling anyone to verify its security by auditing the code.
TextSecure is the only Android private SMS/MMS messenger replacement that uses open source peer-reviewed cryptographic protocols to keep your messages safe. Rather than simply pretending to hide your texts by putting them in another place, TextSecure uses cryptography to ensure that they remain truly secure.
Encryption is going to be an important part of maintaining your own privacy in the years to come. Download these apps yourself and check them out, then share them with your friends!