Cyber Dust: A Channel for Secure Open Communications

Sep 20, 2016

Texting can be a convenient communication method, but it can carry risks if messages are discovered in the course of litigation. Communications through traditional texting methods are generally recorded by the parties’ third-party Internet service providers and could be stored on the parties’ individual devices. Such communication can be discovered and used as evidence in basically any legal context possible.

Text can sometimes contain direct, misspelled, and unfiltered language that could be misinterpreted without the benefit of knowing the full context of a conversation.. The fear of litigation that can arise from any means of communication should not trump the goals in any business communication. This is Dallas Mavericks’ owner and technology executive Mark Cuban’s basis for the development of the messaging app called Cyber Dust. Cuban’s own legal burdens motivated him to create the app. He thought about how the most innocent texts can be misconstrued and how data aggregation can form a digital profile that could prejudice a user’s reputation. Cyber Dust is designed to provide an open communication channel that protects every user’s privacy.

Texts sent via Cyber Dust automatically disappear 24 seconds after being read, but users may pin messages for later reference. Even if messages are pinned, no names or other identifying information accompany the message on the screen. Consequently, even if a user takes a screen print of the message, the message cannot easily be attributed to any individual person.Furthermore, intercepting these texts could be considerably more difficult than traditional texting methods, which do not employ the same privacy features of Cyber Dust.

Whether businesses choose to use apps such as Cyber Dust can depend on the risk tolerance of the business. When considering communication strategies, it can be helpful to seek the advice of legal counsel to draft communication policies and procedures that advance and protect the interest of the business.


By: Heliane Fabian, Law Clerk