Moxie Marlinspike has been working for years to make an easy-to-use, end-to-end encrypted communication app.
Last month, his organization Open Whisper Systems launched a protected voice calling and texting app called Signal for both iOS and Android. Now that app is coming to the desktop, closing the loop on encrypted communication.
The new desktop version is still in beta, and it’s also only available for Android users via a Chrome app. The encrypted communications tool will let users receive messages across all devices — much like iMessage does on Apple products.
Prior to launching Signal, Marlinspike created two other apps: Textsecure and RedPhone. The former handled encrypted messaging and the latter made protected calls; both have since been rolled into the new Signal app. At the heart of the many projects that he’s worked on is the desire to make encrypted communication accessible to everyone.
“I think when we work on TextSecure or Signal, it’s so that it’s easy for existing players to plug it into their products,” Marlinspike told me last year. All of the projects that Marlinspike has worked on have been in the service of spreading end-to-end encryption technology to the masses. His first two apps were both open-source projects, as is Signal. The hope in making the source code for these apps open is that it will act as a sort of security protocol for anyone developing a communication tool.
To that end, Marlinspike has also worked directly with companies to help implement this technology. Earlier this year he joined forces with WhatsApp to help develop encryption for its messaging and voice calls.
His efforts have largely paid off. Since launching TextSecure in 2010, he’s become a well-known figure among privacy advocates, and his work has attracted the gaze of large public companies like Twitter and Facebook. Now it’s up to the tech community to make this technology ubiquitous.