Lebanese expatriate Nadim Kobeissi, 21, is determined to “subvert governments and frustrate marketers” with a cat- and code-themed website that allows users to exchange messages and files that can’t be read by anyone but the sender and receiver.

Kobeissi — who endured the loss of loved ones, barely escaped death himself, and knows people who were tortured because they did not protect their online communications — hopes crypto.cat will provide journalists, dissidents and others under surveillance with a secure alternative to such messaging applications as those available on Gmail, Facebook and Skype.

With an interface that will be familiar to those who grew up in the decades of 8-bit gaming, Kobeissi also hopes to make his chat client something people will want to use rather than simply need. But he also warns that the program is still in development and should not yet be regarded as completely secure.

Watch a fun introduction to crypto.cat made by Kobeissi below.

— Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

Wired’s Threat Level:

Cryptocat is an encrypted web-based chat. It’s the first chat client in the browser to allow anyone to use end-to-end encryption to communicate without the problems of SSL, the standard way browsers do crypto, or mucking about with downloading and installing other software. For Kobeissi, that means non-technical people anywhere in the world can talk without fear of online snooping from corporations, criminals or governments.

“The fact that you don’t have to install anything, the fact that it works instantly, this increases security,” he explained, sitting down with Wired at HOPE 9 to talk about Cryptocat, activism and getting through American airports.

Read more

Cryptocat Adventure! from Nadim Kobeissi on Vimeo.

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