We've all heard about Tiger Woods and the sexting that got him in trouble. Now a company claims to have found a way to send text messages that self-destruct. Is it a great way to keep conversations private or a license to cheat and harass?
It seems like such an innocent thing - dash off a quick text and send it on its way.
"People tend to let their guards down and put things in text messages that they otherwise wouldn't put in a regular email," said Jeff Fehrman, Vice President of Forensics and Consulting, Discovery Solutionsintegreon.
But just like emails, those texts live forever - not just on your phone, but on your wireless carrier's server and they could be used against you.
Fehrman's job is to recover old texts for court cases.
"we're able to analyze the data and look at email messages, text messages, the contacts, the date and time things are sent," said Fehrman.
Now a new company called TigerText says its created a way to keep private text messages private.
"It can't be copied, it can't be forwarded, and it can't be saved," said Jeffrey Evans TigerText founder.
The text bypasses your cell phone carrier. It goes directly from your phone to TigerText and on to your friend or colleague. Both parties must have the free application downloaded on their phone.
Each message has a time stamp and the sender controls how long it stays around.
"When that time runs out, it deletes. It pulls off that phone, it pulls off the server, it pulls off the phone it's sent to," said Evans.
The company says they overwrite their own servers constantly, so even they don't have a copy of your message after it's deleted. Good for some - worrisome for others.
"If parents want to record it or the police have to get involved, there's absolutely no record of who sent that message. It's giving them license to cyberbully, spread rumors, to say really terrible things," said Ross Ellis, Love Our Children, a non-profit organization that supports the safety of children.
Other experts worry about domestic violence or even terrorism.
TigerText stresses the positive, like allowing a doctor to text you test results or your bank to text you information quickly.
"We recently had people that had to send credit card information around to different people. and they said, 'You know what? I would never send it over an email, but I can certainly send it straight through TigerText," said Evans.
And yes, it's even for those who send racy texts they may later regret.
"If they send a message they really shouldn't have sent, they're going to learn that lesson," said Evans, "but they don't have to learn it by having that message being forwarded and copied to everybody that they know and have their reputation sullied."
Regardless of whether messages can be saved or not, Ross Ellis says texters need to be responsible for their actions.
"They need to really think before they send," said Ellis.
Right now TigerText is free, but again, both parties must have it downloaded onto their cell phones in order to use it.
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