Jul 2, 2013

Android Users: Get The NSA Out Of Your Text Messages With TextSecure

Last week I wrote about a really great app for your Android or iPhone that allows you to encrypt phone conversations so the NSA and the other federal alphabet soup guys can't snoop on your conversations. That app was called RedPhone.

Well the makers of RedPhone, WhisperSystems, have another app for Android that does something similar for text messages. It's called TextSecure!

From their Google Play Page:

Like privacy? Secure your SMS/MMS communication with TextSecure. It's that simple. 
TextSecure encrypts your text messages over the air and on your phone. It's almost identical to the normal text messaging application, and is just as easy to use.
TextSecure Provides:
  • A secure and private replacement for the default text messaging app.
  • All messages are encrypted locally, so if your phone is lost or stolen, your messages will be safe.
  • Messages to other TextSecure users are encrypted over the air, protecting your communication in transit.
  • TextSecure is Free and Open Source, enabling anyone to verify its security by auditing the code.
TextSecure is the only Android private SMS/MMS messenger replacement that uses open source peer-reviewed cryptographic protocols to keep your messages safe. Rather than simply pretending to hide your texts by putting them in another place, TextSecure uses cryptography to ensure that they remain truly secure.
Up until now I have been using Google Voice for everything, especially since they have Sprint integration. Well, I ended that last week and switched over to TextSecure. Now Google, who has given backdoor access to the NSA through PRISM, doesn't have unfettered access to my text message archive. At the very least, now Google can't sell information found in my text messages to marketers.

If I'm texting others with TextSecure, my messages are stored encrypted, and sent encrypted so the NSA can't snoop the content of our conversation.

If I am texting those who don't value their rights, sure the NSA can snoop that off the wire, but at least me messages are stored using encryption on my phone. I guess you can't win them all.

So far this app is only available on Android. If you know of another application that has an iPhone counterpart, or one that is compatible with TextSecure, let me know in the comments.
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