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BitTorrent trials secure online chat service

BitTorrent this week launched an early version of a new secure, server-less messaging system.

The system, dubbed BitTorrent Chat, applies distributed technology to instant messaging, with the hope of keeping conversations private, secure, and free.

"This year alone, more than 6 million people have been impacted by data breaches," Catherine Meek, director of product management at BitTorrent, said in a blog post. "The right to own your own conversations online: it's not a given. It should be."

Details about BitTorrent Chat remain scarce in the early stages, but spokesman Christian Averill confirmed to PCMag that the system will be available for desktop and mobile, though there is no word on when it will launch, or on which devices.

BitTorrent made a splash recently with its Sync service, which lets users coordinate files across multiple devices. But the new Chat product is not an offshoot of Sync; rather, it is a standalone product that will work like Sync, according to Averill.

"As with BitTorrent Sync and our other products, our aim is to create a durable product without the need for centralized servers," Averill said. "That is in line with one of our core values: people have the right to privacy."

That right is emphasised by BitTorrent's decision not to store chats on servers, as other services do, therefore keeping conversations safe from data breaches and prying eyes. Additionally, the no-limits, no-fees service allows only those using BitTorrent's encrypted peer-to-peer network to send and receive messages.

More specifics about the program are expected as the chat client continues its early testing. Sign up online for notifications and to participate in the pre-Alpha phase.

For more, check out today's PCMag Live video below to get Dan Costa and Sascha Segan's take on BitTorrent Chat.

BitTorrent isn't the only firm trying to avoid the NSA. Over the weekend, eccentric tech entrepreneur John McAfee revealed the "D-Central" router, aimed at blocking unwanted government surveillance. The sub-$100 device is expected to be ready to communicate with smartphones, tablets, and other gadgets within six months.