Encryption apps enter the mainstream

Recent revelations about extensive NSA snooping have people wondering how to keep their online activities private. For the most part, strong encryption technology of our e-mails, texts, and phone calls has been the domain of the powerful and the paranoid. It can be expensive, inconvenient, and complicated for those without specialized knowledge. But that's starting to change. Encryption apps are becoming more mainstream.

Johns Hopkins computer scientist and cryptographer Matthew Green is optimistic the current NSA news will get people thinking more about online privacy and security.

"I hope there will be kind of an avalanche effect where more and more people use [encryption] and it will be strange not to be protecting your communications," he says.

But remember, your secrets are only as safe as the people you share them with.

"That means convincing your mother or your grandmother that they have to install the software on their computer or their phone, which isn't always the easiest thing to do," Green says.

Green recommends checking out encryption offerings like Silent Circle, RedPhone, and Cryptocat.

About the author

Mark Garrison is a reporter for Marketplace and substitute host for the Marketplace Morning Report, based in New York.

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