Unseen, a 4096-bits encryption communication service from Iceland

Martin Brinkmann
Feb 21, 2014
Updated • Feb 22, 2014

Quite a few companies and individuals aim to improve communication security. Unseen.is is third service that I have reviewed in the past 24 hour period that promises to improve user communication security and privacy (the other two are ShazzleMail and Telegram).

Unlike the two services, Unseen is a complete communication product that combines email, audio and video calling, and chat in a single service.

It needs to be noted -- again -- that Unseen has not been audited by third-parties, and that you should keep that in mind while reading the review.

So what is Unseen? Unseen is a communication service that is available as a free and pro version. The free version supports the majority of features that the service has to offer with two notable exceptions.

Both versions of the service share the same strong 4096 bit encryption that it uses to protect communication. One difference though is that premium users can generate and store their own private keys, while free users cannot.

The second difference is that only premium users can make use of secure and encrypted email, while free users can only use email regularly.

Premium users on top of that gain group calling options and 2 Gigabytes of storage instead of the 25 Megabytes that free users get. 25 Megabytes is not much, and it is not clear if that is all the storage that users get to store emails on the servers.

File transfers, the service supports those, can be larger than those though. According to the company website, premium users can transfer files up to 40 Gigabytes in size.

Unseen is currently only available as a web-based version, but versions for Windows, Mac and Linux systems as well as Android and iPhone are in development. All of the applications and programs will be free of charge.

Encryption details

All messages that are transferred using Unseen are encrypted and decrypted by users of the service, not by Unseen. According to the FAQ page of the service, it does not have access to the key.

Messages are encrypted using 4096-bit encryption and "advanced symmetrical encryption".

Little is know about the type of encryption that Unseen uses, other than that it "proprietary encryption based on open source standards" such as xAES and NTRU.


Unseen does not reveal much about the technology that it is using to protect and secure the system. While that does not necessarily have to be a bad thing, at least some users may prefer if developers are open about what is being used so that they can audit the service or at least evaluate the claims that are being made.

The major challenge for Unseen is that it only works properly if both sender and recipient are using it. While you can use services such as chat or video calls only if both users have an Unseen account, the same cannot be said for email.

If you want secure email and sign up for a premium account, you need to convince your contacts to sign up and do the same.

You can still send emails to unprotected email addresses, but that means that the information are not fully secure.

One thing that I could not figure out how to do was how the "control your private key" feature worked for free users. I could not find any information about the private key after logging in to the service.

Closing Words

Unseen offers more communication forms than popular solutions such as Skype. While some are missing, such as SMS, it is not really necessary as soon as the mobile and desktop clients get released by the service's parent company.

If you can convince your contacts to make the switch -- the free account is sufficient if you only want to chat -- then this may be worth taking a look at.

The premium service for now is offered for $49 for a lifetime license,  a fair price.


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  1. ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Doesn’t Windows 8 know that www. or http:// are passe ?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 4, 2012 at 7:57 pm

      Well it is a bit difficulty to distinguish between name.com domains and files for instance.

    2. Leonidas Burton said on September 4, 2023 at 4:51 am

      I know a service made by google that is similar to Google bookmarks.

  2. VioletMoon said on August 16, 2023 at 5:26 pm

    @Ashwin–Thankful you delighted my comment; who knows how many “gamers” would have disagreed!

  3. Karl said on August 17, 2023 at 10:36 pm


    The comments section under this very article (3 comments) is identical to the comments section found under the following article:

    Not sure what the issue is, but have seen this issue under some other articles recently but did not report it back then.

  4. Anonymous said on August 25, 2023 at 11:44 am

    Omg a badge!!!
    Some tangible reward lmao.

    It sucks that redditors are going to love the fuck out of it too.

  5. Scroogled said on August 25, 2023 at 10:57 pm

    With the cloud, there is no such thing as unlimited storage or privacy. Stop relying on these tech scums. Purchase your own hardware and develop your own solutions.

    1. lollmaoeven said on August 27, 2023 at 6:24 am

      This is a certified reddit cringe moment. Hilarious how the article’s author tries to dress it up like it’s anything more than a png for doing the reddit corporation’s moderation work for free (or for bribes from companies and political groups)

  6. El Duderino said on August 25, 2023 at 11:14 pm

    Almost al unlmited services have a real limit.

    And this comment is written on the dropbox article from August 25, 2023.

  7. John G. said on August 26, 2023 at 1:29 am

    First comment > @ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    For the God’s sake, fix the comments soon please! :[

  8. Kalmly said on August 26, 2023 at 4:42 pm

    Yes. Please. Fix the comments.

  9. Kim Schmidt said on September 3, 2023 at 3:42 pm

    With Google Chrome, it’s only been 1,500 for some time now.

    Anyone who wants to force me in such a way into buying something that I can get elsewhere for free will certainly never see a single dime from my side. I don’t even know how stupid their marketing department is to impose these limits on users instead of offering a valuable product to the paying faction. But they don’t. Even if you pay, you get something that is also available for free elsewhere.

    The algorithm has also become less and less savvy in terms of e.g. English/German translations. It used to be that the bot could sort of sense what you were trying to say and put it into different colloquialisms, which was even fun because it was like, “I know what you’re trying to say here, how about…” Now it’s in parts too stupid to translate the simplest sentences correctly, and the suggestions it makes are at times as moronic as those made by Google Translations.

    If this is a deep-learning AI that learns from users’ translations and the phrases they choose most often – which, by the way, is a valuable, moneys worthwhile contribution of every free user to this project: They invest their time and texts, thereby providing the necessary data for the AI to do the thing as nicely as they brag about it in the first place – alas, the more unprofessional users discovered the translator, the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, the greater the aggregate of linguistically illiterate users has become, and the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, as it now learns the drivel of every Tom, Dick and Harry out there, which is why I now get their Mickey Mouse language as suggestions: the inane language of people who can barely spell the alphabet, it seems.

    And as a thank you for our time and effort in helping them and their AI learn, they’ve lowered the limit from what was once 5,000 to now 1,500…? A big “fuck off” from here for that! Not a brass farthing from me for this attitude and behaviour, not in a hundred years.

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