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Twitter Buys Password Manager Startup Mitro
Twitter Buys Password Manager Startup Mitro
By Shirley Siluk / NewsFactor Network Like this on Facebook Tweet this Link thison Linkedin Link this on Google Plus

Following on the heels of another acquisition earlier this week, Twitter is adding to its fold a New York-based password security startup called Mitro.

As part of the deal, Mitro announced that its app will now be open source, and is releasing all of its server and client code on GitHub. An announcement posted by co-founder Vijay Pandurangan on Mitro's blog added that -- in joining Twitter -- Mitro will also be "focusing on a variety of geo-related projects."

Financial terms and other details of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Twitter has kept busy this summer with a string of startup acquisitions. Last Monday, another company -- the image search startup Madbits -- also announced it was joining the Twitter family. Earlier in July, Twitter revealed it planned to acquire CardSpring, which provides a platform to help retailers and publishers work with the payments industry.

'Valuable' Potential for Online Security

To help with its transition to open source, Mitro has been working with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a non-profit advocacy organization that promotes digital privacy and civil rights.

In a blog post published Thursday, EFF Technology Projects Director Peter Eckersley said his organization was "very pleased" to see Mitro release its code under a General Public License on GitHub. Doing this will allow coders and other experts to contribute bug fixes, resolve other issues and build a body of documentation for the password security app, he noted.

"Mitro is distinctive amongst free/open source password managers in that it's architected around cloud storage," Eckersley wrote. "For security, the online password databases are encrypted with client-side keys derived from your master password. For availability, they are mirrored across three cloud storage providers.

"With this design...passwords can be synchronized across all of your computers and devices with minimal effort. They can also be shared across teams and organizations. For those reasons, we're excited about the possibility that Mitro may turn into a valuable piece of infrastructure for the community."

We reached out to Eckersley to ask for more details about how the EFF will work with Mitro. He told us the company made a compelling case that "this technology was a missing piece of the puzzle for a lot of people," and added that one of the questions the EFF will help it look at is whether Mitro might eventually want to create its own foundation to promote its open-source development further.

Seeking Trust from the Privacy 'Paranoid'

Mitro's work with the EFF will enable the company to "continue to operate as-is for the foreseeable future," Pandurangan said in his blog post. The EFF's Eckersley added that "Mitro has committed to funding continued operations of its servers until at least the end of 2014."

In response to a question on Mitro's Google Group for developers, co-founder Evan Jones added: "Currently our privacy policy is not changing. However, what it means is that we are taking steps towards making Mitro *more* private. There were certain choices that we made as a commercial company, in order to measure how people were using Mitro, in order to be able to make the user experience better. Now, as an open source project, our priorities have shifted. We would like Mitro to be trusted by people who are relatively paranoid about their security and privacy."

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