Security

BitTorrent experiments with decentralized private-chat service

Trítla the cat cares deeply about her privacy.

Above: Trítla the cat cares deeply about her privacy.

Image Credit: Sólveig Zophoníasdóttir / Flickr

Are you longing to chat in private — not just “off the record” but off the grid? BitTorrent today released an internal alpha of its server-less chat app, making your dreams of truly private chats a near-reality.

BitTorrent realized the word “privacy” means different things to different people and wants this new app to account for everyone’s needs, BitTorrent senior product manager Jaehee Lee explained in a blog post today. That doesn’t just mean encrypting messages, like other messaging apps have done, but also keeping your metadata “decentralized.” Instead of messages passing through a central server, where they are unencrypted and vulnerable to data sweeps, BitTorrent’s chat app will enable you to communicate device-to-device, without a server.

BitTorrent will have many iterations of the chat app, said Lee, who is full of feature ideas. It will be device-to-device. It will offer VPN for those times when you need to remain anonymous even to the person you’re talking to. Maybe it will even be a completely transparent service.

“What if we created a way to inform users of how their messages were being routed and so they could decide for themselves if they feel comfortable chatting through that connection? What if we allowed them to choose a specific type of connection?” wrote Lee.

For now, it sounds like BitTorrent has a lot of ideas to contend with before it unveils the ultimate privacy chat app. Nevertheless, Lee insists a private alpha launch is “just around the corner.” Stay tuned.