X

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.

Declan_McCullagh2.jpg
Declan_McCullagh2.jpg

Declan McCullagh

See full bio
1T0R6978.jpg
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.
1T0R6964.jpg
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.
1T0R6957.jpg
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.
1T0R6980.jpg
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.

More Galleries

Our Favorite Google Doodles Through the Years

More Galleries

Our Favorite Google Doodles Through the Years

49 Photos
2022's Best TV Shows You Can't Miss on Netflix, HBO, Disney Plus and More

More Galleries

2022's Best TV Shows You Can't Miss on Netflix, HBO, Disney Plus and More

95 Photos
The 42 Best Games on Nintendo Switch

More Galleries

The 42 Best Games on Nintendo Switch

43 Photos
Movies Coming in 2022 From Marvel, Netflix, DC and More

More Galleries

Movies Coming in 2022 From Marvel, Netflix, DC and More

82 Photos
Czinger 21C Hypercar Is the Future of Auto Manufacturing

More Galleries

Czinger 21C Hypercar Is the Future of Auto Manufacturing

64 Photos
Dodge Hornet Is a New Compact Crossover Focused on Affordable Performance

More Galleries

Dodge Hornet Is a New Compact Crossover Focused on Affordable Performance

21 Photos
59 Weird Objects Seen on Mars, Explained

More Galleries

59 Weird Objects Seen on Mars, Explained

62 Photos