Pirate Bay has had a long history of fighting against censorship and government intervention. Now, the company's founder, Peter Sunde, is asking for support from the public for a new project. Sunde wants to create a NSA-proof messaging app.
The app is called Helm.is (Swiss for "secret"), and the app will work on both iOS and Android devices. How does the app remain secret? It uses something called end-to-end encryption, which basically means that no third-party (read: government) can intervene with messages. So, why does Sunde need your help?
A Public Plea
Sunde is trying to raise $100,000 through crowdfunding. If you donate $5 or more, you will receive an unlock code for the app ahead of schedule. After the app has been developed (and that crowdfunding goal has been reached), it will be free for everyone to use - unless you send a photo message. Photo messages will be charged accordingly, but Sunde and company haven't placed any rates on these messages yet.
Why does Sunde want to create a private app? Aside from the fact that Pirate Bay is all about keeping things from prying eyes (and freedom from oppression), Sunde has clearly found a really good business opportunity.
I'm sure I'll catch some slack for this, but it's clear to see how easily this app will make money for Sunde. Not only is the crowdfunding campaign already past the $30,000 point, but Sunde's new app will generate revenue once users start sending text photos.
There are some ethical reasons why Sunde is creating this app too. In his crowdfunding video, Sunde explains the motivation behind the app. He doesn't want anyone to be able to tap into text messages or intercept private messages, and that's why this app is being created.
Sunde also explains that his developers can't even take a peek at messages. The messages sent via this new app will be completely and entirely encrypted from all third-parties, including the app company.
The app's design is light and pretty with pastel colors and simple features. So, it's easy to see why lots of people would adapt this app. But, this isn't the first private messaging app, either. There are plenty of other private messaging apps out there, and most of them are free. Whether or not Sunde will get a decent following of people that actually want this app remains to be seen.
When The App Will Arrive
Right now, Sunde is trying to raise the aforementioned funds to put into developing the new private app. Once that's done (and, by the looks of things, it will be done shortly), the app will be available publicly. Will this app actually be NSA-proof? Is that even possible? Or, is this app (and the developers behind it) just trying to cash in on a little paranoia?
It will be curious to see whether or not people line up to use Sunde's new app. For now, though, this seems like a niche app that comes at just the right time. Or, perhaps, a niche way for Sunde and company to make some quick cash.