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."