One to watch — but not spy on, perhaps: the Dark Mail Alliance is aiming to develop the software to enable email that has end-to-end encryption in order to frustrate government efforts to read your post. At the moment the alliance with the name that only Darth Vader could love comprises Silent Circle and Lavabit, though the invitation to join them is extended to any others who share their mission to develop and:
. . . to open source the protocol and architecture and help others implement this new technology to address privacy concerns against surveillance and back door threats of any kind.
Lavabit, you will recall, is the secure email provider that shut down rather than give the US government all its data.
At a time when it is perfectly clear that no form of communication using public networks is secure from the “five eyes,” this is a laudable aim, in my view — but very much a David and Goliath contest. Perhaps, though, if Malcolm Gladwell is to be believed at all, a new-tech, rule-disobedient David stands a decent chance against the massive NSA.
Lawyers, one of whose mantras is — or should be — confidentiality, will surely want to inform themselves about developments in this area. Just ask in-house counsel at Brazilian mining companies or, latterly, at Google, come to that.