Back in July, we did one of our weekly awesome stuff
crowdfunding posts about a variety of new crowdfunding projects designed to keep communications and activites online private and away from snooping governments. That was only a month into the NSA revelations. Last month, we wrote about a few more projects
that would help people keep their data private, including the mail service Mailpile, who was back in the news
this week. We've suggested that all these revelations would lead a number of individuals and companies to look to build more secure and private systems, so we're back this week with two more crowdfunding projects that put security and privacy at the top of their lists.
- First up, we've got Trsst, which is more or less a distributed secure RSS-based platform that can be used to effectively create Twitter/Tumblr/blog-like features for public posting, but which also allows encrypted posting via public key encryption.
There's an uphill battle to get adoption, as with a variety of other similar attempts (something the team here acknowledges), but they put forth a pretty compelling case why they can actually deliver something useful, and why it also doesn't depend quite as much on getting tons of people to adopt it to make it useful (thanks to RSS). They're about 2/3 of the way to their goal with a week to go, so check it out.
- Next up is Mailelf, who, like MailPile, are trying to build a much easier to use encrypted email system. There are a few things in the description that leave me scratching my head about what exactly it is they're building, and frankly, the fact that it's not entirely clear is a bit of a strike against the whole system. Is it local client software? Is it more like Mailvelope? Unclear. But it's still good to see more attempts at making encrypted email much more user-friendly.
While Mailpile had a bunch of notable names behind it, and got a lot of support pretty quickly, it seems that Mailelf hasn't been able to attract the same level of attention, and it only has a tiny part of the funding it's seeking at this point, with three weeks to go. It seems highly unlikely that it will make its goal, but perhaps they'll try again with a clearer explanation of what they're actually building, and with a bit more marketing effort.
It's definitely good to see more projects with this sort of focus, though it feels like we need a few more big
projects, perhaps from larger companies that are much more focused on true security combined with ease of use before it really takes off.