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Web designers create disappearing email

on Tuesday,September 29,2009 17:09

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Anyone who has ever written an incriminating email, sent an inappropriate text message or posted an embarrassing photo on Facebook may be in luck, as four web designers at the University of Washington have created what they call "self-destructing data," says the Kansas City Star.

The software, dubbed Vanish by its creators, works by creating an elaborate encryption key for your message that consists of what the Star refers to as "an impossibly big number" scattered across the internet using the logic that at least one number will inevitably be lost, eliminating the possibility of reopening the message.

The software''s potential for positive and negative applications has not gone unnoticed by the tech industry or the federal government.

"Anything that impedes law enforcement’s ability to track emails could be a problem," says security consultant Jeff Lanza, formerly of the FBI.

A collective of computer scientists and web designers from the Universities of Texas and Michigan as well as Princeton released Unvanish which promises to revive deleted messages, a mere two weeks after its predecessor..

In response, the makers of Vanish modified the software days later to once again make deleted messages lost to the world.

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