I wrote to Silent Circle over a week ago when news of the impending launch first started making circles.
SC's COO was kind to respond in an attempt to allay my fears. Sadly though his answer was more "non" than one.
A week ago replied back with a follow-up question, and have yet to receive a response.
While my political activism is pretty much limited to change.org petitions, SC is directly marketing their services TO activists. As the Occupy movement has shown, political activism, and the free-speech that goes along with it, are becoming in jeopardy. My concern, and I feel it's a valid one, is that CALEA will give subscribers a false sense of security. After all when Microsoft purchased Skype, one of the first things they did (they had no choice) was to install CALEA intercepts.
Hopefully somebody at Silent Circle will be able to answer this. Until then, I wouldn't recommend it. Check out The Guardian Project and Jitsi instead.
(Note - I'm only posting this because as Silent Circle's COO, Vic Hyder is authorized to speak on behalf of the Company.)
Thank you very much for the reply and information you've provided below,
but I'm afraid I'm still unclear on one particular point: /does Silent
Circle fall under /CALEA/jurisdiction or not/?
On 10/11/12 7:43 PM, Vic Hyder wrote:
> Thanks for the note. Quick response - Silent Circle provides peer to
> peer encryption from subscriber to subscriber. The Secure Calling Plan
> offers members a little flexibility to use their Silent Phone number
> to send and receive calls outside the Circle (encrypted to our servers
> but decrypted from servers to non-subscriber). We'll let our members
> determine what their threat model is and how they need to protect
> their transmissions.
> Circle up.
> Vic Hyder
> Chief Operations Officer
> Silent Circle
> Private Encrypted Communications
> Silicon Valley | Washington DC
> w: SilentCircle.com
> This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential and
> intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom they
> are addressed. If you received this e-mail in error, please notify the
> sender immediately and destroy and/or delete all copies. Circle up.
> On Oct 11, 2012, at 6:01 AM, George Ellenburg > wrote:
>> I read with interest news reports yesterday that Silent Circle was
>> getting ready to launch. As an activist and privacy advocate, I was
>> troubled though to read that Silent Circle was planning on offering a
>> Secure Calling Plan amongst other communication services.
>> I understand the obvious revenue stream such an offering will generate,
>> but I'm intrigued as to how you plan to not comply with CALEA, or
>> curious as to how CALEA wouldn't do an end-run around your service
>> altogether? CALEA, as you probably know, is the Communications
>> Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, which requires mandatory technical
>> intercept points for Law Enforcement and Intelligence purposes.
>> Being a United States Company, offering Communication services, located
>> in the United States, your Company is certainly subjected to mandatory
>> CALEA implementations.
>> Thanks for your time. I earnestly look forward to your response.
>> -George Ellenburg