Online security is a topic that has never been as popular as it has since Snowden leaked a variety of documents revealing widespread spying by the United States government. Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and other such networks have all been targeted by the NSA , and as such many users may no longer feel comfortable using them. This is where Syme, a new social network currently in beta, comes in.
Syme was created by three students at Canada’s McGill University, where the social network is hosted. All of the network’s content is encrypted, including status updates and photographs. For now, you’ll need Google Chrome to use the service, which utilizes an extension that encrypts content browser-side. Safari and Firefox will both be supported soon, too.
The service is visually similar to Google Plus and Facebook, but works with groups that an individual must be invited to, which provides the decryption keys for seeing the content. Though a bit more complicated than Facebook, it means the content is encrypted when shuttled off across the Internet, meaning even if intercepted, the content won’t be easily accessed. The goal is to provide enhanced privacy, says the makers, rather than keeping the government at bay.
Said Syme co-founder Jonathon Hershon: “The overarching goal of Syme is to make encryption accessible and easy to use for people who aren’t geeks or aren’t hackers or who aren’t cryptography experts … We wanted to make something that people could easily recognize and feel at home with.” Presently, Android and iOS apps are being developed.