Burn Note is shutting down, here's why:

When Burn Note launched in January of 2012, the trends for privacy online were going in the wrong direction. It looked like our digital communication would never have the strong privacy that it needs. Burn Note was created to address this problem.

Today, in the summer of 2016, strong privacy has become available to millions of people through end-to-end encryption in Whatsapp, iChat and Facebook Messenger. I'm very happy that Facebook and Apple have taken such a firm stance on encryption as it validates the social mission that led to the creation of Burn Note. I hope that all major communications providers will also take part in this mission. As I described in Why Encryption Is The Right Choice, strong privacy is critically important to our society now that we are dependent on digital communications.

However, while other services have invested heavily in security this year, Burn Note has not been able to. Security is a process, not a feature, and it requires a level of ongoing attention that Burn Note is unable to sustain going forward. So the service will be shutting down instead of operating at a level below what it should be.

The service will continue to operate through Friday August 26th. After it shuts down all unopened Burn Notes, all Burn Note accounts, and all email addresses on our mailing list will be deleted in one final tribute to the real deletion of data that made Burn Note unique among online services.

Thank you for using Burn Note. I hope you continue to support strong privacy through your choice of apps and websites. I know I will.

-Jacob Robbins

Posted on July 26, 2016 .

Delete your Burn Note account (completely)

You can now delete your Burn Note account directly from the Account tab, you no longer need to contact customer service to do this. 

On most sites, when you delete your account they merely mark your account as deleted and leave all your information in their database. That’s not how account deletion works at Burn Note. We completely erase your account, any contacts you have, and all your unopened notes. 

When you delete your account your Burn Notes will be erased immediately however your account info may remain on our servers for up to 30 days. This extra window for account info retention is because we retain backups of our accounts database for up to 30 days. The privacy policy has been updated today to give a specific time boundary for these backups.

Posted on February 28, 2016 .

Apple security features under attack by FBI

Recently, the FBI demanded that Apple produce a version of it’s iOS operating system that removes critical security protections. Instead of using their own resources to carry out their crime-fighting mission, the FBI is attempting to strong-arm Apple into reversing security features they have developed.

This is problematic because, as I've pointed out before, we are all dependent on strong security to protect ourselves in an increasingly digital world. We are living in a wild-west landscape of digital attacks and the FBI is trying to remove our ability to own reliable digital locks and safes.

I highly recommend that you read Apple’s open letter describing the situation.

Jacob Robbins, Founder of Burn Note

Posted on February 18, 2016 .

Why Encryption is the Right Choice

At Burn Note, we believe that encryption is essential to protecting everyone's safety and privacy in an increasingly digital world. However, there has recently been some controversy around the use of encryption due to concerns that it could be used by terrorists. 

Like most real-world problems, there are many factors involved and the right answer is not immediately apparent just based on an emotional response. I've written a short essay on Medium explaining why I believe widespread use of encryption is the best choice for our society. I hope it helps provide some viewpoints to the issue that you may not have considered.

Why Encryption is the Right Choice

Jacob Robbins, Founder of Burn Note

Posted on January 27, 2016 .

Receive notifications when your Burn Notes are opened

Burn Note now allows you to receive notifications when a Burn Note you created with the "Get a link" option is opened. You can choose to receive emails, app notifications or both. To enable note open notifications, go to the Account Info section in the account tab and click "Edit account details". 

Open notifications will only happen if you have chosen the "Get a link" option when creating your Burn Note. Chats do not trigger open notifications because they have frequent messages in both directions which would make open notifications distracting.

Note open notifications are available in Version 1.60. This version is on the web and on Android devices as of Sunday Oct 18th. It should be available on iOS by Sunday Oct 25th. Update: open notifications are available on iOS as of Saturday Oct 24th.

Posted on October 18, 2015 .

New Version of Burn Note for Android

A new version of Burn Note for Android has been released that fixes issues with receiving notifications. If you use the Android app and have not been receiving notifications you should upgrade to the latest version, 1.54.

This release also upgrades underlying support in the Burn Note app to fix potential security issues. Unfortunately, these upgrades also limit the app to Android version 4 and higher. We apologize to the 5% of Burn Note users still using Android version 2, however we believe the security fixes to the underlying libraries are necessary.

A corresponding upgrade for iOS users should be available in around a week, pending App Store approval.

Get the Burn Note Android app on Google Play.

Posted on September 9, 2015 .

Schneier on Deletion

Legendary security expert Bruce Schneier wrote a great article about the importance of data deletion to corporate security. He claims that retaining email and informal chats is a liability and advocates for an "aggressive deletion policy". We could not agree more! 

Interestingly, Schneier also notes that we as a society are currently undergoing a "loss of the ephemeral" due to technology proliferation. This matches up with the ongoing stream of interest in private messaging that we see at Burn Note. 

At Burn Note we believe it is important that you are always able to delete your messages. As technology gets more sophisticated and more widespread we make sure that you can still delete stuff easily. If you like deleting too, check out Bruce Schneir's "The Security of Data Deletion".



Posted on May 16, 2015 .