Privacy-Focused Android "Blackphone" to Ship June 2014

Privacy-Focused Android "Blackphone" to Ship June 2014

Pre-orders have opened up for the Blackphone, a high-end Android smartphone that puts privacy and security ahead of everything else. Available for $629, units will ship to customers in June 2014.

Silent Circle, a company with a portfolio of security- and encryption-related software, has joined forces with a Spanish hardware startup known as Geeksphone to bring us the Blackphone, which claims to be the first smartphone to place "privacy and control directly in the hands of its users."

The Blackphone runs on a heavily-modified Android operating system known as PrivatOS, but otherwise appears to be a standard Android phone, with a 4.7-inch HD IPS display, a 2GHz quad-core processor, 16GB of storage, an 8-megapixel camera, and LTE. The obvious privacy and security enhancing features come in the form of three apps: Silent Phone, Silent Text, and Silent Contacts, which offer an encrypted VoIP service, IMS, and contact list.

These apps are already available for iPhone and Android devices with a paid subscription, but the Blackphone comes with two years of service. Here's the caveat: the apps only offer peer-to-peer encryption when you're calling another Silent Circle user. To try to remedy this, the Blackphone comes with three extra one-year subscriptions that users can hand out to those they wish to communicate with securely. Through partnerships with other security-focused companies, the Blackphone also comes with services that provide 5GB of "zero-knowledge encrypted data backup" and a search provider that uses a VPN to render your Google or Bing searches anonymous.

The Blackphone makes no claim to be completely secure, however. "There's no such thing as 100-percent secure," explains Silent Circle CEO and co-founder Mike Janke, "and there's no such thing as an NSA-secure phone. If you have a phone it can always be hacked."

Most Android phone security issues come through apps, and the Blackphone gives users control over what apps can do and what information they have access to. A Wi-Fi manager limits wireless-based tracking, and another tool will prevent your personal information from being tracked and sold to advertisers.

Pre-orders for the Blackphone have opened up today for $629, and units will ship to customers in June 2014.

Source: Blackphone, via The Verge

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I'd give it a few months before the NSA crack down on them for being terrorists out to destroy the free world and send the people behind the device an all expenses paid trip to a Cuban 'resort' for the rest of their lives.[/tinfoilhat]

I'm suprised that it is Android based though, surely they'd want a security and privacy focused device to use something bespoke rather than basing it off a product from a company that gives zero fucks about privacy.

This is kind of disgusting. Privacy used to be free. For fuck sake it used to be our human right. And now we have to pay to have it? I'd rather just use a 12 year old phone.

CriticalMiss:
I'm suprised that it is Android based though, surely they'd want a security and privacy focused device to use something bespoke rather than basing it off a product from a company that gives zero fucks about privacy.

Yeah, they should've used a product by one of those tech companies that respects privacy.

...

Oh right. They all caved to the NSA quietly, and never made a peep about it until after Snowden exposed it all.

Android is not what I would call a secure platform by any measure, and this looks more like a phone being sold with root features enabled. So I can't spot who they are marketing this too, since most users who have not rooted are not interested in security.

Android maybe open source but it is not pure linux in my book.

It won't last long. We used to have encrypted email services, until they got shut down. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lavabit )

You're pretty much required by law now to hand over your consumer data.

So is this "Blackphone" going to have black keys on a black background, which when you push them the screen lights up black on a black background to let you know you've done it?

CriticalMiss:
I'd give it a few months before the NSA crack down on them for being terrorists out to destroy the free world and send the people behind the device an all expenses paid trip to a Cuban 'resort' for the rest of their lives.[/tinfoilhat]

I'm suprised that it is Android based though, surely they'd want a security and privacy focused device to use something bespoke rather than basing it off a product from a company that gives zero fucks about privacy.

Android is Linux based and open source as a result. Just because googles distro is the most popular doesn't mean there's already countless forks in circulation.

O maestre:

Android maybe open source but it is not pure linux in my book.

Whilst that is very interesting, its not whether it is open source or not that determines android to be Linux based, its the Linux kernel it runs on.

Alfador_VII:
So is this "Blackphone" going to have black keys on a black background, which when you push them the screen lights up black on a black background to let you know you've done it?

I didn't even think of this reference, but now I want one.

---

Honestly this doesn't seem particularly important as a product. It's very expensive for the novelty of secure(ish) messaging which is already available on the platform. I just don't understand the appeal.

if they want the phone to be truly secury, plenty of security measures have to be in place. due to how utterly moronically android handles permissions without any explanation requested from the app creators (praised be ones that actually tell you that in app decription, assuming thier not lieing anyway),this means most of your apps wont work.
since most of your apps wont work in roder to ensure privacy noone will use it.

this will be for this niche audience that already doubleencrypts every email and similar stuff.

Alfador_VII:
So is this "Blackphone" going to have black keys on a black background, which when you push them the screen lights up black on a black background to let you know you've done it?

Yes but it will be so sleek when it crashes into the sun XD

idarkphoenixi:
It won't last long. We used to have encrypted email services, until they got shut down. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lavabit )

You're pretty much required by law now to hand over your consumer data.

Darkmail hopes to solve this but you are right, there will always be push-back especially from the paranoid and information hungry U.S.

Remember folks, if the NSA don't know when you pee the terrorist win.

 

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