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This article was published on July 8, 2008

    Privnote: turn every note receiver into Ethan Hunt

    Privnote: turn every note receiver into Ethan Hunt
    Ernst-Jan Pfauth
    Story by

    Ernst-Jan Pfauth

    Ernst-Jan Pfauth is the former Editor in Chief of Internet at NRC Handelsblad, as well as an acclaimed technology author and columnist. He a Ernst-Jan Pfauth is the former Editor in Chief of Internet at NRC Handelsblad, as well as an acclaimed technology author and columnist. He also served as The Next Web’s blog’s first blogger and Editor in Chief, back in 2008. At De Correspondent, Ernst-Jan serves as publisher, fostering the expansion of the platform.

    Alright, I’m getting in the mood for this post by turning on the theme song of Mission Impossible – as there’s now a web app which makes it possible to send messages that self-destruct. Privnote allows you to send somebody a message, which the recipient can only read once. After that, it will vanish and become irretrievable. Remember the notes Ethan Hunt received?
    [youtube:http://youtube.com/watch?v=7s5KFbyBmrQ]
    Although the comparison goes a long way, the actual destruction of the notes you send with Privnote isn’t that sexy. No exploding sun glasses or whatever, just a link that works only once.

    On top of this, Privnote also supplies you with some insightful information. You can tell whether the link has been eavesdropped, and get a notification when the recipient clicks the link. But the best feature of all, you can withdraw the message if you suddenly feel sorry about it. How many relationships will that save?

    Screenshots

    The developers of Privnote have built the app by using Django and Python and run the service on a https-secured server. This looks all safe and sophisticated, but there’s one big security leak in the whole idea of Privnote, as recipients can just make a screenshot of the message – and save it for life. I don’t think there we’ll be a solution for that soon, so you might want to consider whether you really want to use Privnote for its original purpose.

    Try the teenagers

    To me, it more sounds like a way to have fun, or to give the message a little more weight. But I think there’s a target group that will be absolutely ecstatic when they hear about Privnote: teenage girls. Like they already secretly share notes in classrooms, they can now also send each other “secret” messages via the web. So this web tool is basically begging for a social network widget. I think the “send secret message” Facebook app will become a huge hit. And maybe Tom Cruise is still cool enough to be the mascot?

    Harry Potter had them too!