Security

Private messaging app Wickr redesigns, gets funding from former In-Q-Tel founder

Wickr Nico Sell

Above: Wickr co-founder Nico Sell

Image Credit: Meghan Kelly/VentureBeat

To defend your privacy in a time when the “Internet is forever,” Wickr has put together an adivsory board of security professionals to guide that fight for data control.

But in the midst of this, the company also redesigned its app today and took on funding from Gilman Louie, the founder of secretive CIA-run venture firm In-Q-Tel.

Louie is currently a partner at Alsop Louie Partners.

Wickr promises to “leave no trace” when it comes to your communications. It encrypts your messages — including text, photos, and audio —  and does not keep a key to decrypt it. The only person who can decrypt your message is the recipient. Wickr does not keep a key to open the data either. It can never see the message, it does not keep the messages, and the messages self-destruct over time, so they can’t be collected through subpoena.

While developing its product further, Wickr seems to be in the middle of a $7.4 million fundraise. A Form D filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission today shows that it has thus far raised $300,000. Louie is listed as a director.

Nico Sell and her fellow Wickr founders feel strongly about private communications, saying that you truly can’t trust systems like Google, Skype, or even your cell provider because, though some of those data transactions are encrypted, most of these companies keep a “master key” to open them. The app has also gotten attention since former NSA contractor Edward Snowden’s spying revelations.

The revamped version takes advantage of iOS 7 and is a much cleaner, brighter design. This is likely a push to become more appealing to younger generations, of which Sell has previously stated the company wants.

Indeed, she explained that anyone using Snapchat should really use Wickr because you get both the photo-self-destructing capabilities, as well as more privacy.

The new adivsory board will also inform the company’s product direction and general mission. The board includes Whitfield Diffie, well-known for his work in cryptography; Dan Kaminsky, another well-known security personality; and others with backgrounds at the EFF, CIA, and a variety of news organizations.

We have reached out to Wickr on the funding and will update this post upon hearing back.

More information:

Wickr’s mission is to provide secure communications that Leave No Trace. People are being tracked online is ways they do not understand by numerous governments and corporations throughout the world. Your private communications are wo... read more »

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