Silent Circle is a company that’s known for its services aimed at thwarting government surveillance, and in a period when everybody is concerned about their privacy and security, it has managed to grow a big base of interest followers so far. The company has now announced that it’s releasing apps to let its customers make and receive private phone calls worldwide.
At the moment, the company’s secure voice-and-data calling plan work on iPhones and Android smartphones and are said to soon roll out to Windows Phone devices, as well. Silent Circle callers can reach 79 countries, including China, Russia, most of Europe and the Americas, but not covering large parts of the Middle East and Africa.
Silent Circle’s new servicetakes on traditional phone carriers but also on voice-over-Internet services like Skype, Viber and others. Ben Wood, a senior analyst with mobile research firm CCS Insight, said the following with regards to the launch:
What Silent Circle is offering is an augmented level of security beyond what normal phones can offer. It captures the zeitgeist in terms of paranoia by answering the question of what more consumers can do to protect themselves.
Silent Circle’s primary target audience is represented by international business travelers like executives, lawyers and bankers, but also journalists or activists. But more regular users are showing their interest in such services, and that’s where the big potential lies.
The messaging service comes with a “burn” feature which auto-deletes sent messages and attachments at pre-set times. Silent Circle was founded by security expert Mike Janke with Internet encryption creator Phil Zimmermann and Jon Callas, inventor of Apple’s whole disk encryption system.
Silent Circle’s new calling plan starts at $12.95 a month for 100 minutes of outbound calls and runs up to $39.95 for 1,000 minutes of calling, which is on par with premium price plans offered by Microsoft’s Skype and Rakuten’s Viber, but, of course, with the extra security.
Silent Circle CEO Mike Janke said the following:
A customer can get a basic cheap data plan from any telco and use our encrypted calling plan for all 2G, 3G, 4G and Wi-Fi calling. Our price point, combined with a basic data plan is about 20-45% cheaper than telcos currently offer long distance. Most European businessmen and women pay huge roaming fees when they travel around Europe and other parts of the world. Sometimes up to $1,400 per month. If you are a businessman in the UK with service from say, O2 mobile, just to call 100 minutes to Taiwan you will pay $17.
This is the same company behind the “Blackphone”, a device which comes loaded with a customized version of the Android operating system known as PrivateOS.