I believe it was a couple of years ago that I first met Nate Freitas at No↔Space co-working here in Brooklyn (née The Change You Want To See). He was working on ideas to help enable and protect communications amongst fellow activists, and I took an instant liking to him—this was a trouble maker! I mentioned our SQLCipher project to him, it was still pretty new in 2008, and he was immediately interested in being able to use it in Android applications. Since then he’s gone on to help found the Guardian Project, which aims to arm and protect mobile devices against unwanted surveillance and intrusion. Recently, he got back in touch with some big news:
After some major breakthroughs during last week’s development sprint, we’re extremely excited to announce SQLCipher for Android, Developer Preview r1.
SQLCipher is already on mobile devices on other platforms, but this is the first time it’s been made easily accessible for an Android developer, bringing compatibility with the native SQLite interfaces provided by Android. I’d say that probably makes it even easier to work with on Android than on iOS, as it closely integrates cursors with views (in Cocoa-land, you can’t just plug SQLCipher into Core Data, you have to role your own data management classes). Our teammate Erik was able to easily drop it into a sample Android project and get it working in no time.
In an environment where mobile data privacy is increasingly in the headlines, this project will make it easier than ever for mobile developers to properly secure their local application data, and in turn better protect the privacy of their users. The data stored by Android apps protected by this type of encryption will be less vulnerable to access by malicious apps, protected in case of device loss or theft, and highly resistant to mobile data forensics tools that are increasingly used to mass copy a mobile device during routine traffic stops.
Big ups to Hans-Christian Lee of Guardian who did brilliant work achieving this high level of integration with the Android platform. Please check out the Guardian Project and their apps, especially if you own an Android device. If you’re a hacker, give the developer preview a shot, and consider helping them hack on some seriously cool software.