Brave New World: OTTs Address Security, Privacy Concerns

Participants in the current debate over the NSA’s surveillance programs seek a balance between security and privacy. While some argue that the government has overstepped its bounds, others say that the monitoring of communications is an essential tool for keeping the country’s citizens safe.

Whichever way you lean, there is no doubting that mobile privacy and security has become a hot button topic. From consumer- and enterprise-facing anti-virus software to data encryption, everyone is aware that electronic threats, both foreign and domestic, are very real.

Not surprisingly, there’s big business in protecting against these kinds of nefarious entities. Recent numbers from Infonetics Research forecast sales of mobile device security client software to soar, reaching $2.9 billion by 2017. The same study suggests a CAGR for consumer clients from 2012 to 2017 (28 percent) is forecast by Infonetics to outpace that of enterprise clients (20 percent).

Harvey Boulter, chairman of a company called Seecrypt, which provides a double-encrypted VoIP calling app, says recent revelations about how and what the government is actually watching only highlight the uncertainty in today’s world of electronic communications.

Seecrypt has responded with a double-layer encryption software that generate call keys on the device from ambient background noise. He says this kind of double-layer, native encryption would take years for anyone to hack and Boulter says its preferable to having call keys generated on a centralized server, which can be hacked.

“It’s elegantly simple, and, I might add, patented,” Boulter said. “You keep half of the key on your device, swap half of the key with the person you’re calling, and then the data flows peer to peer.”

Boulter says that after Edward Snowden’s leaks came to light, Seecrypt has seen a boost in users.

Boulter says that United States has created so many backdoors in its systems that those same entryways are now being compromised by the “bad guys”.

“The government needs to start to have an eye, or really has a duty, to protect its citizens,” Boulter said but admits the whole thing is a balancing act.

Seecrypt only costs $3 per month, and the company is hard at work on developing versions for BlackBerry, Windows Phone and the desktop. It’s also ad-free, which he says was a conscious one.

“That’s one of the reasons why we have charge. By definition a security and privacy service shouldn’t be mining a user’s data to serve up advertising. We just didn’t want to do that.”

Referencing the recent reports that the Department of Justice had targeted the call logs of journalists, Boulter said Seecrypt is offering media a special perk. By entering a code, they can get 12-month subscription for free.

Seecrypt is just one example of an Over-the-Top solution that has emerged to meet demand from users who are starting to take privacy, as well as the security of their communications, into their own hands. But given the intensity of the debate happening right now, you can bet there will be many more companies looking to enable consumers to protect themselves. (Andrew Berg, Wireless Week)

What do you think? Has the government overstepped its bounds, or is the monitoring of communications an essential tool for keeping the country’s citizens safe?  I’ll love to hear from you. Please drop a line or two below.

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2 thoughts on “Brave New World: OTTs Address Security, Privacy Concerns

  1. Pingback: Brave New World: OTTs Address Security, Privacy Concerns | Ekweozor Mishael

  2. Pingback: Brave New World: OTTs Address Security, Privacy Concerns | Ekweozor Mishael

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