There’s a distinctive sound your computer makes when an online friend is trying to get your attention. Sometimes its high pitched, other times its a low, warm tone, but regardless of your chat software, the onomatopoeia probably reads something like “bleep” which — by no coincidence, we’re sure — is what BitTorrent is calling its new messaging platform. Unlike Google Hangouts, AIM or Skype, however, Bleep is a decentralized communication platform, design specifically to protect user metadata and anonymity.
“Our big idea was to apply distributed technology to conversations,” BitTorrent’s Jaehee Lee write on the company’s blog. “That means no servers required.” Instead of sending your chat communications to a central company server to be redistributed to your peers, Bleep uses the same kind of peer-to-peer communication technology used for decentralized file sharing to carry and distribute encrypted messages and metadata. BitTorrent does not (and can’t) track who you’re talking to, what you’re saying or when your conversations happened.
The company says the chat program is being designed to enable a more open internet, and will empower users to communicate without fear of eavesdroppers. That said, it’s still quite early: the chat platform is only available in an invite-only pre-alpha for Windows 7 and 8 desktop users, and the installed client can only be used on one device and cannot be moved. Offline messaging isn’t supported either – though voice calls are available to online contacts and particularly guarded users can sign in with an unlisted, incognito mode. Ready for a discreet conversation? Check out the source link below to sign up for the pre-alpha.
Filed under: Internet
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Bleep is proprietary and closed-source. In addition, it’s owned by a company that habitually collaborates with the MPAA, a gigantic lobby group that is definitely not interested in your online freedom (recall SOPA, PIPA, CISPA, etc).
Tox is exactly what Bleep is claiming to be, except it’s actually free and open source. That means you can see the code before you run it, and millions of eyes can check to make sure it isn’t malevolent.
FOSS also provides clear practical benefits, examples being:
Tox runs on pretty much anything with a C compiler, not just Windows 7,
Tox can be themed to look just about however you want,
and Tox will never restrict features or show ads to try and get money out of you. If it did, someone would fork it and you could use the version without those antifeatures. It’s so easy that malicious developers know not to even bother trying.
Bleep is dangerous, because it lulls you into a false sense of security. The fact of the matter is that there’s no reason to trust any proprietary software, because especially in cases like this, there’s absolutely no good reason for it to be proprietary.
I don’t want to insinuate that Bleep are cooperating with the NSA, but I’m extremely skeptical of anyone who would use the Snowden leaks and privacy concerns as an opportunity to shill dangerous, closed-source software to honestly worried people who don’t know any better.