In the TV series Mission Impossible, the team leader, one Mr. Phelps, received his instructions on a cassette tape that destroyed itself after one listening (mighty inconvenient if a jet happened to roar overhead just as the tape was telling Phelps who his team was supposed to take down, but I guess the meetings were never set up near airports).
Now you can make your emails (and really, any other kind of data stored in “the cloud”) automatically self-destruct using a program called Vanish from the University of Washington. Leveraging the power of peer-to-peer networking, your data is encrypted and the key is broken across the P2P network. How does it work?
…the user never knows the encryption key. This means that there is no risk of the user exposing that key at some point in the future, perhaps through coercion, court order, or compromise… Vanish creates a secret key to encrypt a user’s data item (such as an email), breaks the key into many pieces and then sprinkles the pieces across the P2P network. As machines constantly join and leave the P2P network, the pieces of the key gradually disappear. By the time the hacker or someone with a subpoena actually tries to obtain access to the message, the pieces of the key will have permanently disappeared.
Read the entire press release here.
Discovered via ChattahBox.com