This text will self-destruct in 40 seconds

Next year will bring self-deleting e-mails and photo messages, too, thanks to Staellium and its StealthText service.

Steve Ranger UK editor-in-chief, TechRepublic and ZDNet
Steve Ranger is the UK editor-in-chief of ZDNet and TechRepublic. An award-winning journalist, Steve writes about the intersection of technology, business and culture, and regularly appears on TV and radio discussing tech issues. Previously he was the editor of silicon.com.
Steve Ranger
A service offering Mission Impossible-style text messages that "self-destruct" after they have been read has been launched.

Staellium UK said its StealthText service will allow business executives dealing with sensitive information to send texts that will delete themselves from the recipient's mobile phone soon after the person has read them.

Once a message has been sent, the recipient receives a text notification showing the sender's name and providing a link to the message.

Once opened, the message will disappear after about 40 seconds. Staellium said it has had interest from financial services companies, celebrity agents and the U.K.'s Ministry of Defense.

"The ability to send a self-destruct message has massive benefits for people from all walks of life, from everyday mobile users, through to celebrities and business people, but this is just the start," Staellium CEO Carole Barnum said in a statement.

"In spring 2006, we will be launching new services such as self-destruct e-mail, voice and picture messages, so ultimately no one will ever have to worry about their messages or pictures ending up in the wrong hands ever again," she said.

The service is currently available around the world for users of U.K. SIM cards only, but the company said the service will be available across Europe, in the U.S. and Asia next year.

Steve Ranger reported for Silicon.com.