People can encrypt messages posted on social media sites, emails to protect privacy
A free service that allows people to encrypt messages they post to social-media sites such as Facebook and Twitter has been launched.
Scrambls is a browser plug-in that lets the user decide who can see a message after it has been uploaded.
However, in order to decipher the message, the individual or group also need to have Scrambls installed on their browser. If the user changes their mind after posting a message and wishes to further restrict who can read it, they can change groups or individuals permitted to read that post.
Michael Sprague, Scrambls co-founder, said: "Greater control enables greater use of social media. Post confidently, knowing your boss won't see messages meant for high-school friends, and permanent records of what you say online won't come back to haunt you in the future."
With the Government planning to introduce powers that would force internet service providers to keep people's messages and online content so they can be monitored by intelligence agencies, this plug-in could help protect privacy.
Nick Pickles, director at Big Brother Watch, said: "The launch of Scrambls sees an exciting shift towards consumer control and ownership of content - putting individuals in charge of their privacy.
"The growth of many online services has been paid for with user information, with people believing they are a customer when in reality they are the product.
"This is the first step towards a new phase of digital economics, with users asserting control of their online reputation and privacy in tandem with services that protect, rather than exploit, personal information."
However, if asked by Government to release the keys to messages, Sprague said the company would have to comply.
Once the plug-in has been downloaded the user chooses the version that works with their preferred browser. Once installed, a switch will appear in the browser, that lets users choose from a dropdown list the individuals or groups that can read messages.
The user then types as normal on the website and the message is automatically encrypted before being uploaded to the site.
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