Silent Circle today announced that it has raised $30 million from Ross Perot Jr. and Cain Capital to support the development of its private communication services and Blackphone, a device meant to protect consumers from the prying eyes of intelligence agencies and hackers. The company claims that its services are used in 130 countries and are relied upon by almost half of Fortune 50 companies, as well as governments from 11 countries.
It’s not surprising that Silent Circle would need outside funding to match the demand for tools that make it easier for consumers, businesses, and governments to protect their personal data. Knowing that intelligence agencies are gathering data, watching hours upon hours of cam porn, and infiltrating online communities to build a digital panopticon has made services like Silent Circle’s more popular than they were when most people wrongly assumed they were safe.
Silent Circle has an almost captive audience. The company sells the digital equivalent to bulletproof vests in a time when many people believe the government is firing a machine gun in every direction, hoping that a few of its shots prove to be worthwhile. And because Blackphone owners are allowed to “gift” one-year subscriptions to people they want to talk to, Silent Circle’s metaphorical vests are sure to continue growing in popularity.
It’s therefore unsurprising that the managed to raise $30 million. Its services are only as secure as a user’s operating system, so it created a smartphone with an operating system built specifically for them. Email has been criticized for its insecurity, so it joined Lavabit in creating the Dark Mail Technical Alliance.
Silent Circle may not have the name recognition or consumer excitement that some of the other companies raising in the double-digit millions right now. But we live in a time when intelligence agencies continue to surprise the world with how far they are willing to go to gather information. Bulletproof vests might not be the most exciting things to wear, but most people aren’t worried about making a fashion statement or shocking each other with their vests — they just want ’em to stop bullets.
[Original image via Wikimedia]