Call My Email

PFC Gladys Bellon, Basile, Louisiana, one of the 27 WAC switchboard operators flown from Paris for the Potsdam Conference and Sgt. Robert Scott of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, test lines in the frame room of the Victory switchboard at U. S. headquarters at Babelsburg, Germany.

What if you could call me directly through my email? No exchanging of phone numbers or searching for handles on Skype. Just plain and simple email. Now what if we can make that phone call as secure as it is easy. That’s the goal of what we’re doing here at Open Secure Telephony Network (OSTN).

The internet is already structured to be able to do this. That’s why I can have all of my emails point to one email box if I want to. Simply by changing the MX records. So why not be able to do that with phone numbers, routing them through my same email by changing the SIP records?

Guardian Project is in the process of figuring out how to make your life better by doing just that. We’re currently in the early stages of research on how to make a stack for secure telephony standards so that anybody can participate, whether a novice user who wants easy access or a power user who wants to run their own stack.

Email already handles configurable standards well for text. As a user, I can choose my service (Gmail, Hotmail, RiseUp, self-hosting, etc) and the client (Outlook, Thunderbird, Mail, etc) on whatever platform works best for me (Windows, MacOS, Android, etc) and have my custom email (mark@funkymonkey.net, jedi83@rebelalliance.org, etc) point to whichever of these systems I trust the most and works best for me.

We’re now bringing that ease and customization to voice communication. As a user, I’ll be able to choose my service. We’re currently alpha testing a service we built, Ostel.me, but there are others like Tanstagi, Intimi.ca. Our open protocol will make it easy for companies to host their own internal server for communication. Whatever platform works best for you (Windows, MacOS, Android, etc) has a tool that lets you make phone calls with the service. We’re working directly with open source tools like CSipSimple on Android and Telephone on MacOS to improve them for best and most secure call quality. We’re also making it easy for people using other tools like Groundwire on the iPhone to make calls using these tools.

Our goal is to make a service that’s easier to use and more secure than Skype while cheaper and more reliable than a standard phone. This is just the start, but we’re excited by the progress we’ve already made. If you’d like to help, we’re always looking for smart and passionate people who can be testers, designers, translators, and supporters. Before you can call our email for updates, you can send us a message on it telling us how you’d like to participate, sign up to be an alpha tester on Ostel.me, or follow us on Twitter. Thanks for tuning in!

3 comments for “Call My Email

  1. David Ammouial
    2012/03/23 at 7:40 pm

    I don’t understand what’s new. SIP already allows you to define _sip._udp.yourdomain.com SRV records and make them point wherever you want. Services like iptel.org allow you to have such a record point to them, and they’ll either work as a normal SIP server or redirect any incoming call to the existing SIP address of your choice.

    What is it exactly you’re inventing that isn’t yet possible?

    • n8fr8
      2012/03/23 at 8:01 pm

      We definitely aren’t inventing anything new here. OSTN is purely focused on testing, tuning, deploying and advocating for users to adopt existing open standards, and practices they already use for email. We are trying to understand why an overwhelming majority of activists and human rights NGOs rely almost soley on Skype even when a very useful service like IPTel exists. Most importantly we are trying to put all the pieces together end to end, from mobile client to server to desktop, in a way that has the best security possible, namely TLS and ZRTP. So if there is anything we are being inventive about, it is trying to look behind the standards and protocols, and make open-source mobile voip a viable choice for the communities we support.

      We will make sure on future posts we clearly call out existing standards, protocols and services. If you visit our wiki, most of what you mentioned is covered there. Thanks for the feedback!

  2. 2012/07/21 at 4:43 am

    you have ‘discovered’ SIP URI? ;p I love what GuardianProject is doing.. everything. I wish more conservatives would value privacy as heavily. Privacy is politics agnostic though 🙂 On android I switched from yaxim to beem to xabber to gibberbot… and now with xabber OTR fiddling with both but I prefer the GuardianProject ideology.

    if it seems like an email address it might also be SIP or XMPP. A friend has an ‘initiative’ to motivate webhosts to provide SIP/XMPP/encrypted email out the gate at every package level.

    You might enjoy the work of Aaron

    http://SIPsorcery.com

    the “new” freemium model has enough free for most people. tinkerers will quickly want to upgrade

    even if you have given some thought to jingle (xmpp) give some extra thought to SIP SIMPLE: huge potential for Push To Talk style messaging over the internets without the ‘burdensome’ voicemail interface. Or use it for text communication ala XMPP. Jingle shares in the PTT potential. There is very little chance of the bloatware on google’s malware market of surviving as interwet PTT analog without openness.

    “by doing just that”

    e.164 (eNum)

    iNum, self proclaimed eNum champions, though late to the game are good at PR pushing. see also

    SIP broker // and related topic searches

    The iNum agenda is clear and not exactly open focused. Instead you might enjoy some inspiration from

    ISN ITAD
    http://freenum.org/cookbook/

    ISN and eNum are closer to your intent: DNS. As are SRV Resource Records for XMPP.

    ITAD suffers the same ‘finite’ resource issues of IANA allocation whereas eNum is more akin to federation each can roll his own.

    PTT internet2 style,

    http://cio.com/article/711328/Internet2_Doubles_Down_on_Big_science_Mission ,

    could be more entertaining with

    PTFTF
    Push To Face To Face
    (video)

    Isn’t that video chat? no. That’s the IM of video, or PTT audio plus. It’s not my idea. Most of my friends are much much smarter than I am. I like to be challenged [to grow]. I’m confident it has a place. After all TWITer is essentially FINGER!! Facebook is NOT an improvement of technology but less than a collage of common denominators.

    You might find like minded people if not tangentially at pick a PBX project; I prefer

    PBX in a Flash

    makers of once called Orgasmatron. They have been drawn into interest in xmpp, sms replacement, youmailesque features, various convergence, VPN protection from nat or isp ala ooma.

    Calling my email use zRTP or sRTP (everyone needs stronger crypto)

    possibly a little cloudy
    http://events.internet2.edu/2012/jt-stanford/agenda.cfm

    There are gobs of android users who privacy minded and otherwise do not use gmail. Thanks for direct releasing APKs! Do you maintain your stuff on F-droid? They’re becoming more anti-malware (adware is malware) but they’re not yet on the same page privacy minded. more advocacy, more support.. more cohesion.

    Call on me to test/break, volunteer ideas mature or otherwise, brainstorm.. in the philanthropic spirit. =D

    XMPP:ZomebieStew@hot-chilli.net/m
    XMPP:ZomebieStew@hot-chilli.net/fs

    [sic]


    XMPP: the sms killer

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