circl

Star Apps: James Iha

Guitarist James Iha has rarely had a free moment since leaving The Smashing Pumpkins in 2000. He has guested on Fountains of Wayne albums, joined A Perfect Circle, released solo material, and produced myriad artists, including Michael Stipe, Cat Power, and St. Lucia. Recently he scored Hulu original series "Deadbeat." James Iha talks about why mobile television is the wave of the future, working with Billy Corgan versus Maynard James Keenan versus Taylor Hanson, and his favorite app for rare moments of boredom.

How would you compare solo work to playing in a band or scoring a TV … Read more

Unannounced Samsung 'activity tracker' pops up on FCC site

Samsung is working a new, unannounced product through the regulatory process.

The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday published files submitted recently by Samsung showing details on what the company is calling an "activity tracker." The product number doesn't match up with any fitness devices shown off so far this year by Samsung, making the blogosphere guess that it's actually the rumored, and unannounced, S Circle fitness tracker.

Details are slim on the device, due mainly to Samsung requesting that the FCC keep private most of the product's features, but the files indicate that the product … Read more

New Blackphone aims to quash surveillance threat

A new Android-powered smartphone soon to be launched will put privacy and control directly in the hands of its users.

On Wednesday, Silent Circle and Geeksphone announced the formation of a new Switzerland-based joint venture and its first surveillance-thwarting product, the Blackphone.

Powered by a security-oriented Android build named PrivatOS, Blackphone is touted as a carrier and vendor-independent smartphone that will allow consumers and businesses to make and receive secure phone calls, exchange secure texts, transfer and store files, and video chat without compromising privacy on the device.

The smartphone is the brainchild of security and technology specialists including Phil … Read more

'Dark Mail Alliance' looks to create user-friendly e-mail encryption

Encrypted e-mail "easy enough for your grandma to use"?

That's the goal of the Dark Mail Alliance, a new project from the founders of two e-mail services that recently shut down amid government efforts to nab encryption keys, as well as the larger revelations regarding the NSA's surveillance efforts.

Lavabit's Ladar Levison, who pulled the plug on his service after being pushed to hand the FBI his SSL keys, and Mike Janke of Silent Circle, which saw the Lavabit closure as "writing on the wall" and similarly shuttered its Silent Mail offering, are … Read more

Review: PhotoCircle is a fun and easy-to-use group photo sharing tool

PhotoCircle is a tool for sharing photos between friends that offers many fun new features. It has a colorful and streamlined interface, and it's easy to see how those who like to share photos can find it not only valuable, but also a must-have app on their iOS device.

PhotoCircle requires a log-in or a Facebook profile, presumably to keep the photos you share private. Once created, you can immediately start creating albums and inviting users. You create an album, add images from your iOS device, and then you can invite users to the album through e-mail, text, or … Read more

Silent Circle: NIST encryption standards untrustworthy

The National Security Agency's apparent attempts to weaken encryption technology has led a private-communication startup to move away from encryption algorithms from the US government's National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Silent Circle co-founder Jon Callas called NIST encryption experts "victims of the NSA's perfidy" in a blog post Monday and said the company will move away from using encryption standards that NIST helped create. The standards will still be available, but not by default, he said.

"At Silent Circle, we've been deciding what to do about the whole grand issue of whether … Read more

How NSA snooping secures profits for famed privacy pro (Q&A)

In a double dose of irony, the National Security Agency's prying has given a big helping hand to Phil Zimmermann's business, Silent Circle.

The first irony is that Zimmermann was the very person the US federal government fought with in the 1990s over the release of the software called PGP, short for Pretty Good Privacy, which made encryption much easier to use. The second irony is that he's now president and co-founder of Silent Circle, a company that seeks to profit from making it harder for the NSA or anybody else to find out what people are … Read more

Silent Circle follows Lavabit in shuttering encrypted e-mail

Silent Circle shuttered its encrypted e-mail service on Thursday, the second such closure in just a few hours in an apparent attempt to avoid government scrutiny that may threaten its customers' privacy.

Silent Circle, which makes software that encrypts phone calls and other communications, announced in a company blog post that it could "see the writing on the wall" and decided it best to shut down its Silent Mail feature. The company said it was inspired by the closure earlier Thursday of Lavabit, another encrypted e-mail service provider that alluded to a possible national security investigation.

"We … Read more

Google Hangouts launches as a standalone app

Google Hangouts (iOS|Android) brings the group video chat features you have in Google+ to your home screen with a standalone app, but it might be one too many ways to do the same thing.

Having the app on your home screen gives you immediate access to one-on-one and group video calls formerly found by going through a couple of menus in Google+. With Hangouts, you can have a video call with up to 10 people and you can choose who will be in the hangout through a list of your contacts or by using a search field. During your … Read more

Google Hangouts launches as a standalone app

Editors' note: This post was updated July 16, 2013, with more information.

Google Hangouts (iOS | Android) brings the group video chat features you have in Google+ to your home screen with a standalone app, but it might be one too many ways to do the same thing.

Having the app on your home screen gives you immediate access to one-on-one and group video calls formerly found by going through a couple of menus in Google+. With Hangouts, you can have a video call with up to 10 people and you can choose who will be in the hangout through a … Read more