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BitTorrent technology to power new, decentralized instant chat service

BitTorrent Chat will use P2P protocols to avoid passing messages through central servers

BitTorrent, the company responsible for developing the file-sharing protocol of the same name, has announced the launch of new, secure instant messaging service.

BitTorrent Chat (which can be signed up for as a private alpha here) works on the same technological foundations as BitTorrent itself, using a decentralized system that means no central server stores or processes the communications.

Although the launch of service is being interpreted as a reaction to the ‘post-PRISM’ age, where the public assumes that the majority of communication standards can be compromised by authorities, the makers of BitTorrent Chat denies the connection, noting that that as they’re “not familiar with specifics of NSA programs” they couldn’t possibly comment.

Nevertheless, the program is one of many new initiatives to restore privacy to internet communications. Earlier this week ex-fugitive and antivirus pioneer John McAfee announced plans for a $100 ‘anti NSA’ device, whilst in July this year Pirate Bay co-founder Peter Sunde launched Hemlis – a OTT chat client like WhatsApp with a focus on privacy.

Speaking to CNET’s Seth Rosenblatt BitTorrent's communications chief Christian Averill said: “We are focused on creating something durable that does not rely on the cloud, that respects user privacy and that has real consumer benefits.”