December 12, 2005 5:24 PM PST

This text will self-destruct in 40 seconds

A service offering Mission Impossible-style text messages that "self-destruct" after they have been read has been launched.

Staellium UK said its StealthText service will allow business executives dealing with sensitive information to send texts that will delete themselves from the recipient's mobile phone soon after the person has read them.

Once a message has been sent, the recipient receives a text notification showing the sender's name and providing a link to the message.

Once opened, the message will disappear after about 40 seconds. Staellium said it has had interest from financial services companies, celebrity agents and the U.K.'s Ministry of Defense.

"The ability to send a self-destruct message has massive benefits for people from all walks of life, from everyday mobile users, through to celebrities and business people, but this is just the start," Staellium CEO Carole Barnum said in a statement.

"In spring 2006, we will be launching new services such as self-destruct e-mail, voice and picture messages, so ultimately no one will ever have to worry about their messages or pictures ending up in the wrong hands ever again," she said.

The service is currently available around the world for users of U.K. SIM cards only, but the company said the service will be available across Europe, in the U.S. and Asia next year.

Steve Ranger reported for


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I don't mean to ruin all the excitement but...
Windows: Print Screen
Mac OS X: Command+Shift+3
Linux: Print Screen
Posted by travelbyphone (2 comments )
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ok ok
That was stupid. I got it all wrong. Phone messages, alright
Posted by travelbyphone (2 comments )
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Mind yer Beeswax -
This is going to be an immensely powerful tool for Politicians, Businessmen, and Militarists.

How often have you read of some silly misunderstanding about some old post-it, memo, or email that got all blown out of proportion? The public doesn't really care or have a need-to-know about what kind of deals go on that keep this world moving along.

Now those who have fought their way up to the Halls of Power (over untold numbers of Unworthy's) can rest there more easily without fear of having their tracks disclosed at some future time.

Too bad that this marvelous service has come to public light, though. Hopefully there will soon be a service that can also cover over public knowledge after the fact.
Posted by Elzeal (12 comments )
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Ooooh, I Can't _WAIT_ To See Whose Account Gets Hacked First! ...
because they don't call it "store-and-forward" technology for nothing. I'm sure that the feds have already paid to have the appropriate hooks inserted so that at least _they_ can get to "deleted" stuff. All they will need is a court order from a judge in the proper jurisdiction to flip on the "record-and-forward-to-us" bit in order to snag the embarrassing/incriminating messages. Besides, anyone who relies on getting anything important via cell phone text messaging obviously doesn't do anything substantive for a living - you can't exactly send a chip design, source code for complex software, mechanical engineering drawing, work of literature or art, worthwhile contract, etc., over a cell phone.

I do love the idea of taking a photo of the text using two mirrors and a cell phone's camera, though!

All the Best,
Joe Blow
Posted by Joe Blow (175 comments )
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