Dutch telco KPN strikes deal with Silent Circle to offer encrypted communications

By on February 20, 2014, 10:30 AM
privacy, messaging, kpn, dutch, silent circle, mobile messaging

Dutch telecommunications giant KPN has struck a deal with encryption firm Silent Circle to offer a peer-to-peer platform for secure communications. The move will let KPN's customers make secure voice and video calls as well as encrypted text messaging and file transfers.

Silent Phone and Silent Text services will be offered to customers from June, the operator said in a news release (English translated). Smartphone users will be able to download the applications from the KPN Cloud Store, and set up secure communications with other Silent Circle clients. The apps are available for iOS and Android only.

Silent Circle's services don't store metadata, and the encryption keys are managed on the user's device, outside of KPN or Silent Circle's infrastructure. Also, keys are automatically destroyed after a communication session, making it impossible to decrypt the data. This means that users don't need to fear phone taps by telcos. Of course, the service only works when both parties have the encryption application installed.

The company is providing the service to protect the privacy of mobile phone users, KPN spokesman Maurice Piek said. According to Piek, charges for the service will be the same as Silent Circle's current subscription, US$9.95 monthly or $99.95 annually.

The telecom operator has purchased the exclusive rights to offer Silent Circle's services in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. As of now, Silent Circle users can only have a U.S. based phone number, but KPN will soon offer services with a Dutch phone number.

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