Twitter to open source Android security tech

TextSecure, an Android text messaging client for encrypting messages, is up on GitHub now and other products will follow

Twitter plans to open source some of the Android security products built by the developers behind Whisper Systems, which Twitter acquired last month.

Twitter is starting with Whisper Systems' TextSecure, an Android text messaging client that encrypts messages. Developers can view the source code at GitHub.

"We hope that as an open source project, TextSecure will be able to reach even more people, with an even larger number of contributors working to make it a great product," developers and Whisper Systems' founders Moxie Marlinspike and Stuart Anderson wrote on the Whisper Systems blog.

Twitter plans to open source "some" of Whisper Systems software but in a blog post about the move it did not specify which other products it would target. Other products include WhisperCore, software that enables full disk encryption and management tools for Android phones, as well as products that offer voice encryption, firewall software and encrypted backup.

When Whisper Systems announced that Twitter was acquiring the company it didn't say much about what Twitter might be planning to do with the technology. Offering the technology to the community so soon after the acquisition could indicate that Twitter made the acquisition primarily for the developer talent.

Whisper Systems' products fill a void in the Android OS, which lacks the kinds of security features that many businesses want. Few other companies are doing full disk encryption for Android, but there are many other companies taking different approaches to securing and managing Android phones. Among them are 3LM, Good Technology, Sybase, BoxTone, Fiberlink and MobileIron.

Nancy Gohring covers mobile phones and cloud computing for The IDG News Service. Follow Nancy on Twitter at @idgnancy. Nancy's e-mail address is Nancy_Gohring@idg.com

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