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Closed-source software recommended to Syrian activists as 100% secure…

05 Mar

It is about Wickr, an app only available for iOS thus far. I remember this app made me smile when it was announced back in June 2012: it sends messages and photos that will be erased. The funny thing is that the user chooses for how long the messages/photos will last.

Nico Sell, co-founder of Wickr and one of the organisers of the DefCon, says Wickr will bring « NSA top-secret level encryption to the masses. » It seems absolutely awesome.

As operating on entirely proprietary and locked OS was not enough, Wickr also uses proprietary cryptography algorithms and its source code is closed. I’m confused about the « geek utopia » Sell depicts as follows:

Wickr has a patent pending on technology which Sell said could give people ways to safeguard anything they send or put online, even digital bytes in Internet telephone calls or posts to leading social network Facebook.

Loads of discussions (Mashable, for the non-crypto specialists and Liberationtech for the geekier) have been taking place around how much one could trust this tool. As quite a few security concerns have been addressed (see the Liberationtech messages above), I was particularly alarmed by the following in the Mashable article:

So could Wickr be used by an activist in Syria who is worried about enemy spies and Assad’s regime? Sell has no doubts — she answers that question with an unflickering « yes. »

You mean, people at risk of dying for communicating through technology could use a tool that only a small crowd knows the secrets of?
The blackbox software is good for you

 
 

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