Information about NSA spy programs that has been leaked recent weeks has prompted many to question how secure their communications are. Those leaks have also prompted Peter Sunde, best known for co-founding The Pirate Bay, along with Leif Högberg and Linus Olsson to begin developing a secure and elegant messaging app, Hemlis.
Hemlis, which means "secret" in Swedish, aims to be a well-designed, cross-platform (iOS and Android to start) messaging app that makes secure messaging simple for users. While the technical details are scarce at this time, the idea is that the app will allow conversations to take place privately using end-to-end encryption, ensuring that not even the team behind Hemlis could decrypt the messages. Hemlis seeks to differentiate itself from other messaging services like iMessage and WhatsApp by building not just an app, but an entire company structure focused on protecting privacy. Given Sunde's previous escapades with The Pirate Bay, it's not hard to believe that Hemlis has no interest in cooperating with any government or commercial agencies to allow spying on users.
Despite Hemlis' serious approach to security, the app will have very clean and lightweight design that will look right at home in iOS 7. It's clear that while the primary goal of Hemlis is privacy, the plan is to also for Hemlis to be so pleasant to use that it will appeal to a wide audience of users, security savants and casual users alike.
Hemlis will be available for free with the ability to unlock extra features via in-app purchase. To fund the development and infrastructure the team started a campaign to raise $100,000. A goal which was met just 36 hours after the start of the campaign. People can continue to help fund the project on the Heml.is website in exchange for perks like username pre-registration and codes to unlock functionality in the final app.