BitTorrent has recently announced a preliminary, test version of BitTorrent Bleep. This software will enable people to make voice calls and send messages over the Internet without using a central server to direct traffic. The system instead works by users finding one another through groups of other users. There are no records of the calls or texts stored anywhere along the route. When a connection is made for a call, the communication will travel directly between the two computers involved and it is this peer-to-peer approach, which defies mass surveillance.
OK, even the best system can, and probably will, be monitored at some point. But Bleep unquestionably will make the job a lot harder than the most common online calling and messaging apps do.
The software is only being made available by invitation for now, the company has said, presumably because it will still need the rough edges ironing out. One major issue is Bleep is limited to computers that are running Windows 7 or 8. They have said that support for more platforms is coming in the future.
This new software shows BitTorrent’s effort to locate more applications for the distributed-computing tech, which underlies its file-sharing software. The firm launched BitTorrent Sync in 2013 to give people a substitute to cloud-based programs, which synchronize files across multiple devices.
The current online calling and messaging services will preserve the privacy of users by scrambling the communications between both the sender and the recipient. The issue with this is; they rely on central servers to deal with the electronic signals that establish the connection. And because of this, the metadata, which passes through those servers, can be intercepted and monitored. This could potentially expose the calls and texts to surveillance.
BitTorrent has been working on Bleep since (at least) September 2013, when they announced a plan to develop a secure online chat service.
What do you think? Would this service be beneficial and if so why? As always, if you would like to leave a sensible comment, then please do so in the comments section below.
[Image via blog.bittorrent]