Gaza Conflict Gives Rise to Revolutionary Israeli Chat Application

November 22, 2015

3 min read

Most of us have probably been there at some stage in life. Sending a message to your boss meant for your friend about how you really feel about him probably doesn’t bode well for a promotion. Telling your ex you are still in love after a few drinks probably wasn’t how you planned your night to end. Accidentally sending your parents pictures of last night’s binge will probably require some explanation.

Now, any embarrassment and fear which comes after you carelessly send the irretrievable message need not cause you any further concern. SessMe is a new Israeli application available for download on iphones and android devices which allows users to send messages, voice notes, videos and pictures in the secure knowledge that they can retrieve it from every single device which has received it.

In an interview with Tazpit Press Service, Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Spokeswoman of SessMe, Esther Liebersohn Namer, said that the idea actually came about only last year following Operation Protective Edge in Gaza. According to Namer, during the height of the operation an Israeli mother heard that her son had been killed through a rumor circulating on Whatsapp. For the founders of the application, “this was a red line. Imagine receiving something like that via a gossip message without any ability to control it or do anything about it. We have to check how we forward and share information in a responsible way.”

SessMe was founded by Ofer Ben-David and Haim Saar, neither of whom come from the high tech industry. Both come from a legal and financial background and formed a team of Israeli experts and developers.

Namer is one such expert who, as a computer scientist and developer, has worked in Microsoft and other leading Israeli high tech companies. She told TPS that “I left a great position in one of the biggest companies in Israel just to join SessMe because I believe in the idea so much.”

The new chat application hopes to address some real life occurrences which will be a thing of the past. For instance, social bullying in which humiliating pictures are circulated will be more controllable through the use of the application since users will be able to report offensive pictures which will subsequently be removed.

“My own 9-year-old daughter told me of a horrible picture going around the school of a girl with her belly hanging out of her shirt. It was labelled ‘ugly’ and ‘fat’ etc. It is not a joke because they shamed her. This picture could be taken down by SessMe before it reaches the net,” Namer told TPS.

She further recounted embarrassing stories of when she herself had accidentally sent “teasing” messages intended for her husband to her boss “because the CEO at Microsoft happened to have the same first letter in his name. We all make such mistakes every day even if it is a typo or the message doesn’t sound how you intended.”

The application also offers users a variety of options designed to safeguard their privacy. For example, users can protect their conversations from “snoopers” by encrypting specific conversations. Third parties cannot access private conversations without a password. Additionally, users can set tailored messages in advance to individuals in groups so that birthdays and festival wishes are never forgotten by anyone when the big day arrives.

Namer listed the many methods by which SessMe enables privacy control without inhibiting freedom of information sharing. Users can select contacts whom they deem less trustworthy and SessMe will automatically prevent those contacts from sharing anything from the conversation.

The underlying goal of SessMe, in Namer’s words, was not to curtail the exchange of information but simply to control it in a way which will enable users to feel comfortable and secure. “We are here to say do what you like but for the first time we give you the opportunity to actually choose what happens with your information. I think it is the next big thing and it really could save our generation,” she optimistically predicted.

SessMe, which was only launched a mere three weeks ago, already boasts an impressive user base of hundreds of thousands in several countries.

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