Would you rather use apps that encrypt your data or ones that monitor your activity and sell the data to third party companies? If you had a choice, you’d probably choose the encrypted apps, such as Wickr. What most users don’t realize is popular apps and games usually monitor how you use the app, how long you use, look at your mobile accounts and sometimes even monitor what other apps you use. Go a step further to companies such as Google and Facebook and nothing you do is kept private.
Wickr, which has become the safe alternative to popular chat apps such as Snapchat, wants to sell it’s encryption technology to create a more secure mobile environment. However, it’s running into quite a few roadblocks from companies that make a fortune from selling user data and activity to ad companies.
The Big Announcement
Nico Sell, CEO and co-founder of Wickr, walked into the 2014 Game Developers Conference with one objective – selling security. Strangely enough, it’s not just about money, even though earning from their unique end-to-end encryption technology is definitely a plus. The company is actually focused on what other companies should be looking at – the safety of the end user.
How It Works
If you’ve ever used Wickr, you have to appreciate the extreme privacy. Any message you send can only be read by the recipient. The app doesn’t collect any personal data. It’s all about a secure, streamlined chat program. The encryption keeps your messages safe even if the company happens to get hacked, like Snapchat did recently.
By encrypting data throughout the entire process, from sending to receiving to reading, you enjoy the app without worrying about who else may be intercepting messages. Think of how incredible it would be to visit Facebook without creepy personalized ads based on websites you visited outside of Facebook. Your posts wouldn’t be seen by anyone except your friends. It’s like a social media utopia.
Sell is offering both individual features and a full security bundle to app developers and social networks. While some app developers seem interested, social networks are not too keen to jump on the bandwagon. After all, the free sites don’t just make money from random ads. They make money by analyzing all your status updates, likes and shares to third party companies. It’s a highly profitable business and a model that many sites use, such as the two Internet giants Google and Facebook.
The reasoning behind selling user data is to supposedly offer a more personalized experience. It seems as if companies believe users aren’t capable of searching for information, using apps and services or comprehending data without it being handed to them on a virtual silver platter. Personally, I prefer unbiased search results, more general ads and a user experience that doesn’t make me feel confined to a tiny corner of the Internet.
At least Wickr is proving there are safe alternatives in the mobile world. Users who still believe in a modicum of privacy. With many apps partnering with services such as Google Play Services, it’s nice to know that some companies are fighting back.