Blackphone announced; claims to offer more security and privacy

In the face of more and more people afraid that government organizations like the National Security Agency spy on their smartphone activities, two companies have announced plans to offer a handset that they claim will offer more privacy and security than other similar products.

Silent Circle and Geeksphone revealed today some of the first details on what they ominously call Blackphone. The companies claim it will offer its owners "the ability to make and receive secure phone calls, exchange secure texts, transfer and store files, and video chat without compromising user privacy on the device." The handset is supposed to use an Android variant called PrivatOS.

The official Blackphone website adds that the device will be an unlocked smartphone that will work with any GSM-based wireless carrier. The site declines to offer hardware specs, saying only, "Performance benchmarks put it among the top performers from any manufacturer." More information about Blackphone is supposed to be shown during the World Mobile Congress in Barcelona and pre-orders will begin on the first day of the trade show on February 24th. There is no word yet on pricing nor any information on a specific launch date for the phone.

Image via Silent Circle and Geeksphone

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26 Comments

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This wont work, as soon as they go on sale someone will tear it apart figure out exactly how it works and have a by-pass in weeks after it's release.... But hey, they have to try, give the public some hope.. LOL...

Exactly how do they plan on backing up their claim? It's not as though tracked info is public to either prove or disprove.

A secure phone only means it may be difficult (if not impossible) to break into forensically... If it's using fcc controlled airwaves, which it kinda HAS to... the NSA can still hack the data stream between the phone and the cell tower.

I asked this above as well. Is the NSA able to crack all existing encryption schemes, that too in a time frame short enough so they can take counter-action if needed?

I'm sorry but "Android" and "more security and privacy than other..." simply do not go together, at least not yet. It may have security features and add-ons, but no matter how much you customize it, Google still has control and the NSA legally has a certain extent of access too.

It's a gimmick and will probably be the same than using any phone OS you use.

This is nothing new. The military has already done this and are using secure android devices. What the beauty of Android is...you can modify it to suit your needs.

Well you must give your name and details when you get it from a network and it has an IME number. Moreover you must register your telephone line so I am not sure how private it is.

Privacy in terms of the communication content obviously. Only a crazy person would think they're offering to make your identity magically unknown to all.

So companies I've never heard of are trying to assure me I would have total privacy if I were to use their phone .........ssssuuuuuurrreeeeee.

But I'm actually kinda surprised none of the known security software firms haven't thought of doing something similar before

Doesn't matter how secure the phone is, *IF* the NSA has access to the carrier/Telco data system then it won't do any good.

Any app you install that requires access to some of your data, *IF* the NSA has access to their system then it won't do any good.

Privacy is a myth nowadays.

wrack said,
Doesn't matter how secure the phone is, *IF* the NSA has access to the carrier/Telco data system then it won't do any good.
Are you saying they can crack any and all encryption schemes?

Romero said,
Are you saying they can crack any and all encryption schemes?

*IF* they had the access to the data it implies that the other party gave (were forced) them UN-encrypted data!

wrack said,

*IF* they had the access to the data it implies that the other party gave (were forced) them UN-encrypted data!
So you're assuming the carrier/telco has access to unencrypted data in this case? How, using magic?

So if it's secure than that must mean it's completely incompatible with every other phone on the market so it'd only be compatible with someone using the same phone.
Gimmick.

I think many of us realize the next big industry, for the U.S. at least, will be actual privacy products and services that hit the mark. It'll be interesting to see proprietary vs open source as Lavabit type ethics seem to be the exception, not the rule.

I don't. Of course, it is only a good business move to try and capitalize the big scare, but it's a short-term thing, one-shot even. Privacy is not convenient to most parties in long term and doesn't bring money otherwise.

Actually, it's already emerging and if you take a closer look you'll see it more clearly...or maybe you won't, doesn't matter it's happening.