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Silent Circle's latest app democratizes encryption. Governments won't be happy

Silent Circle's latest app democratizes encryption. Governments won't be happy
Courtesy of Silent Circle For the past few months, some of the world’s leading cryptographers have been keeping a closely guarded secret about a pioneering new invention. Today, they’ve decided it’s time to tell all. Ryan Gallagher is a journalist who reports on surveillance, security, and civil liberties. Follow Back in October, the startup tech firm Silent Circle ruffled governments’ feathers with a “surveillance-proof” smartphone app to allow people to make secure phone calls and send texts easily. “This has never been done before,” boasts Mike Janke, Silent Circle’s CEO. True, he’s a businessman with a product to sell—but I think he is right. The technology uses a sophisticated peer-to-peer encryption technique that allows users to send encrypted files of up to 60 megabytes through a “Silent Text” app. By design, Silent Circle’s server infrastructure stores minimal information about its users. The cryptographers behind this innovation may be the only ones who could have pulled it off.

Related:  Net Privacy and AnonymityCommunication

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Tor traffic disguised as Skype video calls to fool repressive governments Computer scientists have released a tool that disguises communications sent through the Tor anonymity service as Skype video calls, a cloak that's intended to prevent repressive governments from blocking the anonymous traffic. SkypeMorph, as the application is called, is designed to remedy a fundamental limitation of Tor: While the communications are cryptographically secured, unique characteristics of their individual data packets make them easy to identify as they travel over the networks. In the past, for example, the cryptographic key exchange was different in Tor transactions and the certificates used were typically valid for only a matter of hours, compared with as long as a year or two for certificates used by most Web servers. These fingerprints made it possible for government censors in Iran, China, and elsewhere to block data traveling over Tor while leaving the rest of the country's communications intact. A censorship arms race

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Why Don't You Try This?: Scientists Use Sound Waves To Levitate, Manipulate Matter A team of researchers in Switzerland have developed a way of levitating and transporting small objects using nothing but sound. Using ultrasonic waves – that is, sound waves whose frequency is too high for humans to hear – scientists at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich have made water droplets, instant coffee crystals, styrofoam flakes, and a toothpick, among other objects, hang in midair, move along a plane, and interact with each other. It is the first time that scientists have been able to use sound to simultaneously levitate several objects next to each other and move them around. Research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences describes how objects placed between two horizontal surfaces, the bottom one emitting high-pitched sound waves and the top one reflecting the waves back, can be levitated and manipulated. As anyone with a subwoofer and a teenager knows, sound waves exert pressure.

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