Cult of the Dead Cow wants to launch secure messaging app

Hacker group Cult of the Dead Cow (cDc) introduced the Veilid framework, which would allow developers to build communication apps respectful of users’ online privacy and safety.

“Come do a hacktivism with the cDc, as we launch a THING that will once again change the world, with the style and chaos that only the herd can bring. Let us bless you with a revolutionary communications system that will disrupt the balance of power,” reads the message on the group’s website.

Hackers claim that the Veilid (Valid and Veiled Identification) framework does not intend to profit from its creation, which allows it to bypass the usual dilemma that app developers have to solve – commodifying user data in exchange for profit.

The Cult claims that the modern internet has found itself in a precarious place, heavily commercialized and with user data a gold mine for tech billionaires. However, hackers don’t think everybody should simply disconnect or seek to use highly technical solutions.

“We believe that people should be able to build relationships, learn, create, and build online without being monetized. With Veilid, the user is in control, in a way that is approachable and friendly to everyone, regardless of technical ability,” cDc said.

The framework Cult has in mind should be an open-source, peer-to-peer, mobile-first, networked application framework. In theory, the framework would allow for greater transparency and could reduce the need for centralized servers.

cDc’s Veilid seems to target an online community plagued by perceived government encroachment on their privacy. Recently, the French parliament made waves when it allowed police to remotely activate cameras on citizens’ phones and other connected devices.

Meanwhile, the UK’s Online Safety Bill has caused enormous concerns over privacy, with the government insisting that the content of messages and other online activities should be monitored for harmful material, while simultaneously claiming that it isn’t trying to eliminate encryption.

cDc was established in 1984 and is among the most influential hacking groups in the field.