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Cyber Rights Hush up new RIP powers

They can't read your emails, even if they want to. Sort of

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Application security programs and practises

Cyber Rights.net has "formed an alliance" with Hush Communications to beat new RIP powers by offering super-encrypted email off its site.

It's so darn secure that when your boss decides he wants to snoop and read all your personal and work emails, he'll end up red-faced and frustrated.

That's amazing you say. Well, yes, but then there a small problem - both the sender and recipient have to use Hushmail accounts. If you go get yourself a Hushmail account and then send an email to a regular account, it'll be just as open as a normal email. Of course, it would still be a very useful anonymiser, but then that's not exactly hard to do anyway.

However, presuming you both do have Hushmail accounts, the security is indeed rather good. By offering 1,024-bit encryption (basically double credit card protection) it seems a little unlikely that anyone but the intended would be able to read it. A random code is generated by moving a mouse over an online black box and some fancy javascript and applets do the rest.

Your password is a phrase which can be as long as you like, although the box displays about 70-odd characters at a time. And there you go.

We spoke to company spokeswoman Genevieve Van Cleve about the closed loop system. Unsurprisingly, she felt it the fact that both people needed Hushmail accounts wasn't a problem, but did say that if people really must use other email systems, Hushmail offers a (less-secure) digital signature for outgoing emails. Hushmail makes its money by selling email services and premium email products.

The RIP powers which came into effect on 24 October allow employers to monitor employees' email and phone conversations. Needless to say, this hasn't been a very popular measure with civil rights groups and trade unions. It may also fall foul of the new Human Rights Act. On top of this the Data Protection Registrar got into hot water when she produced a set of guidelines which appeared to contradict the government line. This topic will not disappear quickly. ®

Related Links

Hush Mail
Cyber Rights.net

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