While VoIP technology has revolutionized telecommunications, privacy is still a problem. Two Dutch telecom entrepreneurs are launching a new app, Warble, that lets users make anonymous calls over the Internet.
It’s intended to be a kind of Tor for voice communications, offering encrypted, anonymous voice calls without the need to enter a name or mobile number. It works over 4G, Wi-Fi and wired data connections. At launch, Warble will offer Android and Windows versions, with iOS support to follow.
"To allow users to communicate anonymously the Warble App combines three techniques", Warble founder Paul Coerkamp said. "Tunneling, encryption, and obfuscation. This allows any caller to use advanced Privacy techniques for the first time, no longer worrying about their safety and security. Even better, we have no user identity information, and offer the option to pay through anonymous payment methods. So a request for information from the government has no effect. We cannot disclose what we don't know."
The app is targeted toward human rights activists, journalists and other people who need to maintain their privacy when working in countries such as Russia and China that don’t have strong freedom of speech protections.
While Warble calls themselves might be anonymous, it’s still possible to track people using mobile phones simply because the networks have to track them in order for the hand-offs of calls between cell towers to work.
Closer to home, Edward Snowden’s leaking of documents related to the NSA’s operations has also given a lot of Americans pause about the privacy of their own communications.
Even in Warble’s home country of the Netherlands, the government demands the names and addresses of internet and telecom subscribers in the country every 24 hours. This amounts to over 2 million requests since the beginning of 2015.
Even in a country famous for its tolerance and laissez-faire attitude, it’s impossible to escape the increasing demands for government surveillance in the wake of the War on Terror.
Warble will formally launch the app on October 25, the opening day of the International Privacy Conference in Amsterdam