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Wickr, the James Bond of online privacy


If you’re like me, when you get sensitive information via snail mail, that you’re finished using, you shred it.  But what about receiving sensitive information via email?  We all know that it’s impossible to delete information from the Internet.

Enter Wickr.

A new mobile application for Apple devices called Wickr lets people exchange files and messages without leaving digital traces that could be examined by law enforcement or cyberspies.

Wickr, released on Wednesday, addresses the raft of privacy concerns that arise when a person sends a sensitive message: email providers, ISPs, mobile phone companies and social networking sites all retain detailed records of activity on their networks.

(CIO – Wickr, a Mobile Privacy Application, Sweeps Digital Crumbs Away)

Wickr’s mission:

…to provide secure communications that Leave No Trace. People are being tracked online and their information is being sold in ways they do not understand by numerous governments and corporations throughout the world. Your private communications are worth money. Online communications should be untraceable by default.

(Wickr – About)

Robert Statica, an information technology professor at New Jersey Institute of Technology, who cofounded Wickr with Nico Sell, Christopher Howell and Kara Coppa, describes how the idea for the company came about:

“This began when we were sitting around in a cafe in San Francisco, talking about Anthony Weiner and laughing,” adds Statica. “But the more we spoke about it, the more we began to think seriously about this problem.” And the tool they came up with, Statica says, is meant to go beyond mere “sexting” or gossip to corporate or medical environments, any situation where the most secure record of communications is no record at all.

(Forbes – Wickr Lets Your iPhone Send Both Encrypted And Self-Destructing Messages)

Senders of a message or photo can set a self-destruct time for the data ranging from a few seconds to six days in the free version of Wickr. As soon as the recipient who has Wickr installed opens the message, the countdown begins.

“No matter what can do, you cannot stop the clock,” said Robert Statica.

…The only real way to see something sent to a Wickr user would be to steal the person’s phone. Even then, five wrong attempts at the password will cause Wickr to erase itself.

(CIO – Wickr, a Mobile Privacy Application, Sweeps Digital Crumbs Away)

I wonder how this app will affect social media, especially with the latest news that GM is apparently considering to return to Facebook advertising.  Time will tell.

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