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Big adventures always begin with a first step...

One day, not long after Edward Snowden's revelations of NSA spying, Jérémie Zimmermann prompted me to revive a former project of mine, which had been abandoned in the darkness of Google's monolithic shadow. The world simply didn't see a need for a secure email service that respects its users' privacy.

Recognizing that the time had come when people were ready to leave the proprietary, centralized services whose very revenue streams were dependent on the exploitation of our private communicatons, I decided to re-embark on this adventure.

Caliopen's time had come.

Since that day, our team, thanks to the unfaltering support of Gandi and la Quadrature du Net, has been working very hard.

Our primary objective: offer the possibility to protect one's online privacy to the maximum number of individuals.

  • Caliopen will be sustainable, secure, free, and open.

    We have to create a piece of software that any system administrator can install as easily as they would a CMS.

    We must ensure that each instance of our tool can interact with others in a secure way. And we must, at the same time, support standard protocols, in order to not limit our users' ability to connect others to our own networks.

    Also, the tool we create must be free and open, to protect users from any potential proprietary restrictions, and to let the availability of the source code be the guarantee of its security.

    To support the evolution of services based on our application, we need to create more than just a tool: we need an ecosystem.

  • Caliopen will be decentralized.

    We therefore plan to create an association to certify services based on Caliopen, and which will ensure Caliopen's continued development.

    The certification, along with an SSL certificate, will allow private exchanges within an ecosystem. Services choosing to use our tool will, in exchange, guarantee to the end user the respect of a charter forbidding the usage of their private data for commercial purposes.

  • Level of Confidentiality

    A visual indicator of the level of confidentiality of a given interaction will be visible on Caliopen's interface at all times. This will reflect not only the user's own protective measures, but also those of their correspondents and the servers between them.

    By knowing the global level of her contacts' trustworthiness, a user can make an educated decision about whom to entrust with her correspondence, allowing her to favor those correspondents with a higher security level, and encouraging others to themselves use better security in their communications.

  • Caliopen will help push for encryption.

    We believe it is possible, using the power of social interactions, to create a strong enough incentive for users to get into the habit of constantly improving the security of their communications.

    To this end, a user can, for example, choose to only display the least important exchanges when she is using a device that does not meet her standards of security (or the standards of those with whom she is communicating); otherwise her level of trustworthiness will drop, and she will be considered a riskier contact to others.

    By integrating this social dimension into the design of the project, we hope to see users take a more active role in their own security, and take better advantage of the encryption tools available to them, even if it means foregoing other conveniences.

  • Caliopen will be different.

    The long history of free software has taught us the hard way: it's not enough to duplicate existing tools. Most users possess neither the desire nor the courage to change email addresses, even to protect their privacy.

    But we, unlike existing operators, have the chance to start from scratch. We have no fear of scaring users away by offering them a drastically transformed interface, more adapted to the world in which we live today, where our private exchanges aren't restricted to e-mail but are transmitted via SMS, IRC, Twitter, WebRTC...