Users do not notice any difference, but their data gets encrypted using your password inside your browser before it goes to the server. Popa said that if the government asks the company for your data, the server does not have the ability to give unencrypted data. Popa developed the software with colleagues from MIT and a Web development software company, Meteor Development Group. A paper on Mylar will be presented at the Usenix Symposium on Networks Systems Design and Implementation next month.
The software is designed to work with a popular Web service building tool called Meteor, to make it easy for Web developers to use. Mylar’s design has code running inside a person’s browser take on most of the processing and presenting of information—work that a conventional service would do on its servers.
But Mylar also includes some new cryptographic tricks that allow a server to do useful things with user data without having to descramble it.