Discontinues Silent Mail email encryption service to stop governments probing into citizens' communications
Silent Circle, provider of encrypted communications for mobile security, has announced it has discontinued its Silent Mail email encryption service to preempt governments' demands for customer information in the escalating surveillance environment targeting global communications.
In the current environment of ongoing, escalating surveillance and privacy concerns, Silent Circle stands by its customers with resolute commitments to privacy, transparency and a 'no back door' policy, preferring to preemptively shutter a service rather than risk compromising users' protection.
As a communications medium, email's inherent privacy weaknesses mean that even encrypted messages leak metadata and other information. Ending Silent Mail means Silent Circle is no longer subject to possessing this data and precents government authorities' efforts to obtain such information through subpoenas, warrants or security letters, which Silent Circle has not received, to date.
The decision to end Silent Mail reflects Silent Circle's commitment to its subscribers' privacy and does not affect the company's peer to peer encrypted platform for mobile apps and services, Silent Phone, Silent Text and Silent Eyes.
These services are all completely secure end to end services that utilise encryption keys exclusively on users' devices. Silent Circle does not log any metadata associated with these services and does not have the ability to decipher the contents of calls and messages. 'Silent Mail was a good idea at the time, and that time has past,' said Silent Circle's chief technology officer, Jon Callas. 'We introduced Silent Mail in response to customer demand, stating upfront that, even with encrypted contents, email as we know it today is fundamentally broken from a privacy perspective. With further thought, and before we were served with any demands compounding this issue, we decided it is in our users' best interests to focus purely on peer-to-peer encrypted phone, text and videoconferencing services because the less information we have on how subscribers use our services, the better it is for everyone.' Callas continued: 'This is an unfortunate example of the chilling effect the current surveillance environment is having on innovative communications companies. While the majority of our government, commercial and consumer subscribers primarily use the unaffected apps that run on our peer-to-peer encrypted architecture, we apologise for any inconvenience this decision caused. We want all customers to always know that their privacy is what is most important to us.'