I've written before about the promise of encrypted communications for defeating snoopy government officials. But the most promising product seemed to be Silent Circle, which is a bit spendy. Fortunately, somebody who actually knows what he's talking about has reviewed a few alternatives, and he gives another offering a pretty enthusiastic thumbs-up. Even better, it's free.
Writes Matthew Green at Gizmodo:
RedPhone and TextSecure are developed by Moxie Marlinspike's Open Whisper Systems. Note that OWS is actually Moxie's second company — the original Whisper Systems was purchased by Twitter a couple of years back — not for the software, mind you; just to get hold of Moxie for a while.
RedPhone does a much of what SilentCircle does, though without the paid subscription and termination to POTS. In fact, I'm not quite sure if you can terminate it to POTS [regular phone numbers] (I'll update if I find out.)
Specifically, RedPhone encrypts phone calls between smartphones that both use the software, and TextSecure does the same for text messages. Green, who works at the Security and Privacy Applied Reasearch (SPAR) Lab at Johns Hopkins University, adds:
After reading Moxie's RedPhone code the first time, I literally discovered a line of drool running down my face. It's really nice.
RedPhone and TextSecure are open source software products of Open WhisperSystems, which means that those in the know can keep an eye on the guts of the software to make sure no errors creep up or, worse, that something nasty gets inserted. They're available, at least for now, only for smartphones running Android. If I had any storage space left on my bargain-basement phone, I'd give 'em a try.