I am having a slow start on this project, perhaps because I have too many things to discuss and don’t know how to get started, or possibly because nobody knows I am writing anything yet. I thought Google might automatically pick up Blogger postings but “Nudecybot” still doesn’t exist in Google-space. Interesting.
Lets kick into two of my favorite topics: cryptography and groupware. And let me share with you a new tool that I just came across called Shinkuro.
Rarely do you find tools that combine strong security and functionality. In general these aspects are considered to be tradeoffs in software development. I thought I had found such a tool in Groove although the usability, impressive as it is, seems to fail to convert the uninitiated. Version 3 shows some promise, but issues remain such a pricing, a restrictive licence for personal use, and lack of cross-platform options.
Shinkuro is the commerical evolution of a DARPA funded research project. It is cross platform. It is simple. It starts users off with a familiar instant-messaging type interface. It implements a 2048 bit RSA based security with public and private keys. It allows you to share files with groups of other Shinkuro users by effectively replicating a folder’s contents securely through methods that are compatible with NAT devices and most firewalls. Wonderfully the software is usable without a paid licence with the only exception that screen sharing is disabled. I have only just started to test it out with my brother.
Freedom of information exchange depends on not only having highly functional and user-friendly tools, such as web browsers, e-mail and instant messaging, but also allowing a reasonable assumption of privacy. Software like Shinkuro, and others that are building in strong encryption by default, such as Skype, are steps in the right direction.
Special mention is deserved by GAIM, an open source instant messenger compatible with most networks allowing you to use them securely with other GAIM users, and ICQ, the pioneer of instant messaging for also having included encryption.