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Silent Circle: Phil Zimmermann's pretty good privacy startup (pictures)

PGP creator Phil Zimmermann, who co-founded a startup named Silent Circle, says he thinks people will pay $20 a month for secure communications. He demonstrated an early version of the iOS app to CNET.

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Declan McCullagh
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1 of 4 Declan McCullagh/CNET
PGP creator Phil Zimmermann showed CNET an early version of
Silent Circle's end-to-end encrypted VoIP client for iOS. "SECURE" means that the device on the other end of the conversation is also running the Silent Circle software. The words "newborn passenger" are randomly generated and can be read aloud for higher-security authentication if needed.
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2 of 4 Declan McCullagh/CNET
Silent Circle's app will securely scramble conversations -- using end-to-end encryption and the ZRTP protocol -- between two people using its software. If only one person has the app, as this photo shows, the connection will be scrambled only to Silent Circle's servers. That could still be valuable for overseas users worried less about the FBI and more about their own governments.
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3 of 4 Declan McCullagh/CNET
Phil Zimmermann's new Silent Circle startup will test whether Internet users will pay for privacy. They tell pollsters they will. Yet only 0.04 percent of Facebook users bothered to vote last week in a poll about privacy policy changes; a Firefox extension to block behavioral advertising has seen its daily users decline slightly over the last year; and even an election year wasn't enough to convince politicians to convene a single hearing on a "Do Not Track" bill introduced in February 2011.
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4 of 4 Declan McCullagh/CNET
Silent Circle looks a little silly running on an iPad, but an early version of the software that CNET previewed does work.

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