With so much focus on NSA spying and the online community’s response to the allegations of “snooping” and “warrantless data requests,” it’s no wonder that a big push for surveillance proof email technology is occurring. Safety and privacy concerns continue to grow in the wake of Edward Snowden’s continuing leaks as the scope of the NSA’s policies are finally coming to light. Individuals and companies alike are scrambling to protect their own information as it’s clear the rapid growth of technology has left the rights of the people far behind in the dust. In a nutshell, unless you have an online information assurance degree, no one’s email communications are safe anymore…that is, until now.
The Breakthrough in Surveillance Proof Email Technology
In early November of 2013, two companies known for their work with encrypted communications systems announced that they’d not only teamed up and had been working towards a solution for email surveillance concerns, but that they’d also made a major breakthrough. The American-based companies Silent Circle and Lavabit (the latter being the email provider Snowden used which recently shut down rather than submit to dragnet Internet surveillance) announced they had teams of the world’s top cryptographers working to bring a completely revamped email system to the public.
This email system is sure to give the NSA and anyone else trying to read other people’s emails a run for their money. The new system is called Dark Mail and will look just like the current email interfaces most people use. You will still have all of your inbox folders, sent mail files and drafts – the difference will be that peer-to-peer encryption will be automatically deployed with each and every email sent. This means that anyone using Dark Mail technology will effectively communicate with complete security.
Silent Circle Instant Messaging Protocol Makes it Possible
The system of encryption is based on SCIMP, which stands for Silent Circle Instant Messaging Protocol. This encryption will cover the actual content of the email including attachments and text, as well as all metadata information that the NSA used as a premise to begin collecting information in the first place. Essentially, everything that you send and receive will come with a “reasonable expectation of privacy,” language that has been tossed around in hearing after hearing on the NSA’s interaction with email providers such as Gmail.
What makes this Dark Mail technology so secure is that the secret keys which are generated with each message are ephemeral. This means that after every single message exchange, the encryption keys are deleted so that there is no way for a third-party intercepting the mail to decrypt the contents. Even the NSA using their upstream collection methods will have no chance at gathering and pulling emails from Internet cables. Further, the courts will have more grounds to not issue orders to various Internet companies, meaning that the quasi-legal snooping that has been going on will grind to a halt.
Are there Ways Around Dark Mail Technology?
Of course, nobody expects this to completely cease attempts at email surveillance. There is still covert Trojan spyware that could be deployed on personal computers and laptops. Still, this is extremely illegal and if the NSA were to try this, it would result in an unquenchable uproar. The bottom line here is that the more companies and people that adopt Dark Mail technology for their email services, the more impossible dragnet interception of metadata and email messages becomes.
Considering Silent Circle and Lavabit plan to make the source code for this public, surveillance proof email technology is poised to step out of the realm of fantasy and into the world of reality.