News of the spy-proof app had the new company’s site experiencing such a surge they had to increase server capacity.
“We thought that a new messenger service was needed in view of the surveillance scandals that have broken recently,” said co-founder Linus Olsson to The Local on Wednesday.
Sunde and Olsson have joined forces with Flattr partner Leif Högberg to launch the Hemlis (“Secret” in colloquial Swedish) messenger app that is currently only at the planning stage and are busy raising funds for continued development.
Olsson told The Local that fundraising is progressing well, with almost $27,000 of the $100,000 target raised by Wednesday morning.
“But it isn’t just a question of raising the money it is also a question of gauging interest. We want people to use it as well.”
The development work for the new app is progressing in the meantime although the firm was unable to put a date on when users will be able to make use of the tool. Olsson furthermore warned that despite their best efforts, protection from prying eyes will never be fully guaranteed.
“You can never be 100 percent certain, but we will try. It has to be user-friendly as well. I want it to be simple enough for my parents to use,” he said.
The choice of an Icelandic domain enables the play on words with the project name Heml.is. It is also, however, a recognition of Iceland’s strong tradition of freedom of speech.
“We like Iceland. They have a mentality that suits the project and (the domain) fits into the name as well,” Linus Olsson told The Local.
The trio argued in a statement on Heml.is that their project is different from all other messaging services as the focus is on privacy not profit.
“Security has to come first. The app is part of this process,” Olsson said.
Peter Vinthagen Simpson