Crowdfunding Hemlis, A Messaging App Snowden Would Appreciate

Flattr-BigYou may have heard Peter Sunde‘s name before. He is one of the men behind The Pirate Bay, a peer-to-peer file sharing and torrent web site. He is also a co-founder of Flattr, the pseudo-crowdfunding service where users set a monthly budget that is divvied among their “Flattrs” for that month. Giving a Flattr is similar to clicking a like button for Facebook.

He and two of his cohorts from Flattr (Linus Olsson and Leif Högberg) have now launched a crowdfunding campaign for an app called Hemlis. Hemlis promises to provide an encrypted messaging service for both iOS and Android users.

The team makes no secret of their inspiration: revelations regarding privacy and technology following the leak by Edward Snowden. As their campaign page states, “We don’t want a world where everyone is monitored all the time. People have a right to be private and this is our way of enabling them.”

Screen Shot 2013-07-12 at 8.32.06 AMThe service makes use of end-to-end encryption to ensure that messages cannot be viewed, even by the team behind Hemlis. The team will also keep all of the infrastructure for the service in-house in order to increase security.

Companies like Facebook, Twitter, Apple and Google have been forced to open up their systems and hand out information about their users. At the same time they have been forbidden to tell anyone about it! We’re building a message app where no one can listen in, not even us. We would rather close down the service before letting anyone in. Secrets are only secrets if they are secret.

Whereas most other apps are monetized by either the resale of user data or in-app advertising, Hemlis will have a subset of premium features that will be for paying customers only. However, basic features of the app should still be available for free.

The campaign is already fully funded and reached that point in a short 36 hours, which should speak both to the strength of the team’s pedigree and the public’s desire for increased privacy in a post-Snowden world. This is one short campaign. The campaign has only been running for a little short of three days. It will end 10 hours from now, or approximately 7 PM EST on July 12th. It’s uncertain what platform was used, but on the surface it looks to be fully custom, especially considering the acceptance of Bitcoin as a means of funding the project.

$5 nets two codes to unlock paid features in the app once it is released.


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