New Cloaklet Privacy Service Sparks Legal And Ethical Controversy
September 27, 2011 (PRLEAP.COM) Technology NewsAn Irish based software collective has launched a free service that provides military grade security to online communications. Cloaklet.com is a closed messaging system that aims to protect users secrets from prying governments, internet hackers and snooping spouses.
Communicating online in complete security and privacy is possible but technically difficult. Email is the most commonly used online communications method, but it is well known to security experts as a dangerous way to share sensitive information.
"Email was never designed with security in mind" said James DeFrank, an online cryptography blogger. "The inventors of the Internet trusted everybody, so email is a mess - it can be intercepted, it can be manipulated, it can be forged, the list goes on. I advise clients to limit email use to only the most trivial matters, certainly nothing sensitive."
The new Cloaklet service has been built with the average user in mind. "If somebody is computer literate enough to search Google or check their email, then Cloaklet will be easy for them to understand and use" said Mark Anderson, the founder of MMC Software and one of the lead developers behind the new service.
"Cloaklet makes every effort to overcome the technical obstacles to privacy and makes it simple to send messages online that will never be read by anybody but the intended recipient."
Controversy has begun to brew as privacy bloggers question how the law can keep up with a service that effectively shuts out law enforcement at a technical level. One of the key developers behind Cloaklet, Jake Black had this to say at the service's launch: "Before now it was only gatekeepers like telephone companies that stood between a court and a user's right to privacy, now we have technology there instead, technology that simply won't let the court have access to the data - no matter what the legal ramifications."
Anonymous early-adopters of the new service see it as a boon to their personal privacy. "Beforehand there were times when I would actually worry myself sick over the possibility of an email going astray or being read by the wrong person" said one early user of the service who wished to remain anonymous. "Can we trust email when it's been pried open and examined so often by hackers in the past?"
While critics of Cloaklet question the ethics of a closed comms network, debate continues as to whether users will find legitimate and useful uses for the messaging system.
Mark: "We've had a few people contact us asking about our ethics - suggesting I suppose that Cloaklet is some sort of tool for criminality. We argue that privacy should be a basic human right, whether it's online or in the real world." Jake: "Criminals have always had this ability if they wanted it, we've just given to everybody else - the person on the street, the corporate whistle blower, the repressed minority, etc."
MMC Software is a Dublin based collective of developers, designers and entrepreneurs. In the past MMC has developed and marketed a range of online apps, business tools, productivity aids and entertaining digital past times.