US government getting special Android phones

Smartphones with a custom version of Google's Android OS developed specifically for US government and military personnel will soon be released. That's the word from CNN, who claims via unnamed sources that the smartphones, with a custom version of Android, will be able to handle classified documents over wireless networks.

Previously, the US government has not allowed its workers or the military to have smartphones for work due to security concerns, such as hackers being able to penetrate a smartphone's OS and take out government secrets.

The government selected Android to be the operating system for its uses because Google allows for more open software development, which in turn lead to creating a custom version of the OS that met security requirements. Apple's iOS was also considered but Apple would not allow the government access to iOS's core software.

US soldiers are scheduled to be the first to receive these modified Android smartphones, with other US government employees receiving them at a later date. The government plans to use commercially available smartphones rather than create one specifically for the government in order to both save money as well as allowing the government to stay on top of the latest smartphone technology.

But what if a government worker or a soldier in Afghanistan wants to play Angry Birds on his or her government issues smartphone? Angelos Stavrou, who is working as a government contractor on the project, states, "People want to play 'Angry Birds,' and we do want our people to be able to download 'Angry Birds.'". However, some apps that might reveal a smartphone's location will not be allowed. Stavrou says, "If a clock application gets your GPS and transmits something over the network, that's not something that we would want to support."

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1) Holy security nightmare

2) If China or Iran pays Google enough, will they sell them specific data for this demographic they will be tracking?

Brilliant...

In this case it seems to make sense that they're using a heavily modified version of Android. Apple wouldn't let them do that with iOS (I remember reading a while back that they were exploring iOS as their first option). Windows Phone 7 wasn't out yet when they started evaluating and Windows Mobile was already dying, and I'm not sure if MS would have let them modify the OS like that. So what they ended up doing is going with the one OS that they could modify to their specifications.

While it's good that the app store is disabled, I wonder if this phone will have all the Google services disabled, because of the amount of tracking Google does on its users.

Enron said,
In this case it seems to make sense that they're using a heavily modified version of Android. Apple wouldn't let them do that with iOS (I remember reading a while back that they were exploring iOS as their first option). Windows Phone 7 wasn't out yet when they started evaluating and Windows Mobile was already dying, and I'm not sure if MS would have let them modify the OS like that. So what they ended up doing is going with the one OS that they could modify to their specifications.

While it's good that the app store is disabled, I wonder if this phone will have all the Google services disabled, because of the amount of tracking Google does on its users.

They track as much as Apple and Microsoft track on their phones and services

z0phi3l said,

They track as much as Apple and Microsoft track on their phones and services

No they track many times more than Apple or Microsoft. Google read all the freaking email on the phone, Microsoft nor Apple does crap like this...

Its funny how may people are really not reading the article and understanding how much testing the phone has gone through and the security measures put in place by the US Government.

techbeck said,
Its funny how may people are really not reading the article and understanding how much testing the phone has gone through and the security measures put in place by the US Government.

its the US government, not the Dutch government we're talking about. US Gov actually has a very strong and resourcefull IT department.

Shadowzz said,

its the US government, not the Dutch government we're talking about. US Gov actually has a very strong and resourcefull IT department.

Yup. The OS has been developed by the fed so its not like its stock OS or an OS developed by a phone carrier. It has gone thru strict testing, no Market, probably no personal email, and all info is passed thru a DoD proxy server. So the chances of any type of malware is minimal. And I am sure there are protection measures put in place of the phone is lost.

Some people just like to rag on something they either know noting about, or dont read the full info and do a little research.

techbeck said,
Its funny how may people are really not reading the article and understanding how much testing the phone has gone through and the security measures put in place by the US Government.

People prefer to troll instead of learning anything.

Shadowzz said,

its the US government, not the Dutch government we're talking about. US Gov actually has a very strong and resourcefull IT department.

Lets not pretend US government agencies never got hacked or sensitive information made it out into the open...

.Neo said,

Lets not pretend US government agencies never got hacked or sensitive information made it out into the open...

Not denying or commenting on that. But people here seem to think that the Military is running the basic OS versions that come from the carriers...which is not the case. Anything is hackable eventually by someone. But the military has strict guidelines and testing that will make it harder for sensitive data to stolen.

Same would of happened if the would of picked iOS or WP7. Always the chance on info getting stolen.

mjedi7 said,
Fitst words that came to my mind when i read the title: Malware and Lag, in that order!

First thing that went through my mind when I read your comment, You don't anything at all and troll.

Sorry I can't resist this.... were the 'special phones' sent to FBI agents from an anonymous source to help catch hackers...

Lasing target using android phone... Lag lag lag lag planes gone passed wil have wait for it turn round again hahaha.

Wonder how long it'll take before someone loses one of these phones with classified stuff on it

psionicinversion said,
Lasing target using android phone... Lag lag lag lag planes gone passed wil have wait for it turn round again hahaha.

Wonder how long it'll take before someone loses one of these phones with classified stuff on it

LOL lasing with a smartphone? That'll never happen anytime soon.

As to losing a phone, it will happen sooner or later. Thus I'm pretty sure the phones will come with remote wipe, mandatory encryption and lock screen password. I mean, like what enterprises use with their Blackberries (or it is Blackberrys?).

And possibly, all data will pass through a VPN connection.

Well, from what I have read, there will be no access to the Android market and all data will go though the DoD proxy server.

techbeck said,
Well, from what I have read, there will be no access to the Android market and all data will go though the DoD proxy server.

hopefully that's true

timster said,
so, what's the over/under on when someone with a "special android phone" gets malware

If it did have access to the Market the odds of getting malware would be so small it's probably more likely the phone would physically break.

thealexweb said,

If it did have access to the Market the odds of getting malware would be so small it's probably more likely the phone would physically break.


But if the phone physically broke there'd be less chance of sensitive data being stolen.
Great trolling.

thealexweb said,

If it did have access to the Market the odds of getting malware would be so small it's probably more likely the phone would physically break.

LOL @ stupid trolling.

thealexweb said,

If it did have access to the Market the odds of getting malware would be so small it's probably more likely the phone would physically break.

Id be interested to see what model phone they pick and what type of protection they will have to prevent physical damage. Military are not easy on their equipment especially if they are out in the field.