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[ISN] Twitter crypto purchase leaves Egypt dissidents in lurch



http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/11/28/twitter_buys_whisper_systems/

By Dan Goodin in San Francisco
The Register
28th November 2011

A company that provided free cellphone encryption to dissidents in Egypt abruptly suspended its services on Monday so that Twitter could integrate some of its privacy enabling technology into the microblogging site.

Twitter's acquisition of San Francisco-based Whisper Systems came on Monday, the same day Egyptian citizens participated in their nation's first parliamentary elections since the ouster of Hosni Mubarak, whose repressive regime ruled the country for three decades. That means Egyptian dissidents who relied on Whisper Systems RedPhone to encrypt voice calls made with their Android smartphones abruptly lost the ability to protect calls from government-controlled eavesdroppers at a time they might need it most.

It was only nine months ago that Whisper Systems said it was rushing out an international version of the encryption software to support the historic protests that were then sweeping the African nation's populace.

âThe timing is atrocious,â said Chris Sogohian, a privacy researcher with the Open Society Foundations. âToday is Egypt's first election after it threw out its old regime, and the only encrypted voice communication tool for Android goes dark. This couldn't have happened at a worse time for people in Egypt.â

[...]

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