Yesterday Arctic Startups announced that folks from Flattr are working on Heml.is – a completely private and secure messaging platform.
Payments through Paypal and Bitcoin have reached $114,103, or 114% of their goal, funded by 7561 backers in less than two days. The fund will be used for development of the apps, plus setup and running the infrastructure needed. The app will be free, and provide the same sort of basic messaging, as alternatives like SMS, Whatsapp, and Kik; with paid features allowing image sending, and other bonus uses. The difference is privacy.
They’re building a user experience, providing the most secure system possible. Hemlis means “Secret” in Swedish. And .is is the top level domain of Iceland, since Icelanders are famous for data protection. They say it’s one of few top level domains that has proven that they do not cave in to pressure easily.
Founders Peter Sunde, Leif Högberg and Linus Olsson say message content will be completely secure – even they will not be able to access messages.
This is a quick response to privacy concerns raised recently in the NSA debate. There are a couple of challenges; making private who is talking to who – the same sort of “metadata” tracking that caused the NSA debate, and also independent verification of the security claims. Something to watch for, at least Arctic Startups suggest, it’s hard to believe the founders of the Pirate Bay would skimp on security.