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Validian Wades into Mobile Messaging Privacy

Validian Corp is tackling secure messaging with an extension of its capabilities to Google Android mobile devices.

When it launches in the fourth quarter, the company’s peer-to-peer messaging functionality will allow Android devices to communicate with each other (and with non-mobile devices like desktop and laptop computers and servers) using social chat apps, mobile file transfer apps and mobile mail. Validian will also launch its mobile cybersecurity technology to approximately 250,000 independent mobile application developers, providing them with the ability to develop secure third-party mobile apps.

"With more than 1.75 billion mobile end users in the world today, each Validian-enabled mobile app provides us with the opportunity to generate a significant number of endpoints within six months of its release,” said Validian president and CEO, Bruce Benn, in a statement. “This positions Validian to take advantage of recent market valuations for emerging technology companies, which have been ranging from $40 to $100 per mobile endpoint. We look forward to the successful completion of our migration of ValidianProtect to mobile platforms, and to getting our first-to-market cybersecurity technology into the hands of developers worldwide."

There has been a bit of a gap in privacy services since Lavabit and Silent Circle shut their doors about a year ago in the wake of Edward Snowden’s government surveillance revelations. In Lavabit’s case, it was being asked to comply with the NSA or other law enforcement/intelligence agency to hand over customer data.

"I wish that I could legally share with you the events that led to my decision," explained founder Ladar Levison. "I cannot. I feel you deserve to know what’s going on – the first amendment is supposed to guarantee me the freedom to speak out in situations like this. Unfortunately, Congress has passed laws that say otherwise. As things currently stand, I cannot share my experiences over the last six weeks, even though I have twice made the appropriate requests."

This seems to be confirmed in his final statement: "without congressional action or a strong judicial precedent, I would strongly [his emphasis] recommend against anyone trusting their private data to a company with physical ties to the United States."

Silent Mail, part of the secure communications suite from Silent Circle, has also shut down. "We have not received subpoenas, warrants, security letters, or anything else by any government," announced co-founder and CTO Jon Callas. But Silent Circle has seen "the writing on the wall, and we have decided that it is best for us to shut down Silent Mail now."

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