Announcing Gretel — An End-to-End Encrypted Address Book

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Keep your personal information secure and updated with Gretel, your personal contact management app. Try it for free today!

This post originally appeared on Virgil Security's blog in 2018.

We’re all used to staying in touch with colleagues, friends and family using platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook.  We have come to take for granted these decentralized systems that allow us to create and edit our profile once and distribute the update worldwide.

Unfortunately, managing our mobile phone’s contacts isn’t like this at all: one-to-one exchanges of phone number and addresses via business cards followed by manual data entry.  This antiquated approach makes the updating of contact information both time-consuming and error-prone.  And once your contact information is shared, it’s shared for good. You can’t control how it’s used or passed around.

Gretel changes that. With Gretel, you just create a profile with your own contact information, and privately connect with your friends and family to give them access – just like on LinkedIn but without a public directory. When you get a new phone number or email address, update your Gretel profile, and everyone you are connected with is automatically updated. It’s actually puzzling as to why we don’t already do this!

Most importantly, Gretel doesn’t read or use your personal contact data. It’s end-to-end encrypted using Virgil Security’s end-to-end encryption technology, a perfect use case for end-to-end encryption beyond chat.

Gretel looks and feels like a traditional contacts list but functions in the 21st century. According to Gretel’s founder Bill Vernon, “Gretel is the mobile contact management app and updating service that:

  • Simplifies communication,
  • Helps build more successful long-lived relationships, and
  • Returns ownership and control of personal identity to users.”

Using their patented invitation process, “users build their own personalized and private network of Gretel users. Each user exclusively manages their contact information; they control what they share and who receives it.”

Obvious use cases for Gretel are holiday card mailing lists and wedding invitation lists. Using a Gretel Group code, engaged couples and event hosts invite family and guests to join them on Gretel to build and manage their lists.

There’s even in-app links to Uber and Lyft for frictionless ridesharing.

And according to Bill, “Gretel is GDPR-ready.  Our product, procedures, and policies support the spirit and the letter of the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) to be implemented May 25, 2018.”

The world is moving toward an “encrypt everything” model. Users no longer trust companies to protect their data against breaches and don’t buy into the idea that a company should have full ownership of a person’s private information by default.

Gretel is one of the apps leading the way toward a privacy-first world. They claim no ownership rights over user data—using Virgil Security’s end-to-end encryption technology, Gretel contact data is encrypted and decentrally stored on the user’s phone. Only the user can see their data and choose what information to share and with whom. Gretel’s central server only stores a mobile number (for users to invites others to their network), an email address (for Gretel-to-user communication), and an initial or name.

Virgil Security is proud to highlight the Gretel app as a use case for our end-to-end encryption SDKs that puts the user first.

Download it today to check it out and start giving out access to your contact information while retaining ultimate control of information itself. It’s available on the Apple App Store and Google Play.  Learn more at:

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