Pirate Bay cofounder Peter Sunde is building a new mobile messaging app that will have superior encryption to prevent pretty much any outside party from listening in on your conversation, he said.
The app, named Hemlis (Swedish for “secret”), is undoubtedly in response to the NSA’s controversial PRISM online surveillance program that was leaked to the public by NSA contractor Edward Snowden just weeks ago. Sunde, who along with fellow cofounders Linus Olsson and Leif Högberg announced the app today, said the service will be so secure that no one will be able to compromise the data — not even the app’s creators.
Plenty of people are working on making supersecure communication services, but few have the kind of bragging rights that Sunde and Olsson do. Sunde previously attempted to create an ultrasecure cloud storage service, Bay Files, and both he and Olsson also cofounded the ambitious crowdfunded social platform Flattr.
Hemlis will initially be available on iOS and Android The app won’t necessarily be open source because that doesn’t guarantee privacy, but the founders do intend to stay as open as possible with Hemlis’s code. It also said it won’t collect data, sell advertising, or accept funding from investment firms or angel investors. “To guarantee the safety of our users, we can not accept any money ‘with string attached,’” the team wrote in a blog post that was posted recently.
The founders are raising money to build Hemlis through a crowdfunding campaign with a $100,000 goal. People who are interested in using the service have already raised $71,100 through PayPal and Bitcoin donations. Those that have contributed to the campaign will also gain early access to the app, too.
Olsson told VentureBeat that speed of crowdfunding donations surprised the Hemlis team, who expected to reach the funding goal a month from now, if not longer. “But the best part is that we obviously are doing something people want. Feels even better!,” he told me.