With growing concerns over how secure your online data is from intelligence organisations like the NSA, the makers of BitTorrent are looking to roll out a new instant messaging app that protects your privacy using the same infrastructure as the file-sharing network. BitTorrent Chat, an experiment in BitTorrent Labs, is currently in private alpha.
“BitTorrent Chat applies distributed technology to the idea of IM. Our goal is to ensure that your messages stay yours: private, secure, and free,” said Catherine Meek, Director of Product Management at BitTorrent.
The biggest sell here is that BitTorrent Chat is completely server-less. By not storing your messages on any servers, they are safe from snooping eyes. Instead, it uses a decentralized system that works akin to its BitTorrent Sync technology. Much like torrenting itself, it uses an encrypted peer-to-peer network.
If messages aren’t stored in a server, the obvious first question is what happens to chat logs. Talking to CNET, the company was unable to confirm whether logs would be stored locally or even available as an option.
BitTorrent Chat will be free to all users with no limitations. It would likely hit Windows, Mac and Linux, although that has not been confirmed yet. The service is also eventually expected to work with other instant messaging accounts, and will have mobile apps as well.
This isn’t the first chat service being built with the premise of security. Pirate Bay founder Peter Sunde is working on a messaging platform that he claims will be impossible to spy on, even by the people who run it.
To try out BitTorrent Chat, you can sign up for an invitation to the private alpha and hope to get lucky and be one of those selected.