‘Blackphone’ smartphone aims to be NSA-proof


TORONTO – Thanks to whistle blowers like Edward Snowden we are becoming increasingly aware of how the world’s governments are using our smartphones as pocket-sized spies; from mining social network data to using malicious software that turn our devices against us.

But one smartphone-maker aims to create a super secure device that would prevent government spying.

Blackphone – a partnership between encrypted communications service provider Silent Circle and Madrid-based cellphone maker Geeksphone – says it’s creating a phone that will shield the user from any outside monitoring.

Blackphone says their smartphone will be able to make and receive secure phone calls, texts, video chats, and file transfers, and will also be equipped for private browsing through a virtual private network (VPN).

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“The number one priority in creating Blackphone is to uphold the objectives of privacy,” said Blackphone co-founder Phil Zimmermann in a promotional video for the device.

“It’s not to serve some business model of monetizing customer data. What we are trying to do is to make a smartphone whose whole purpose is to protect users’ privacy.”

Blackphone – described by its creators as a “high end smartphone” – will work with any GSM carrier.

But the company is keeping fairly quiet on how the phone will work.

“The tools installed on Blackphone give you everything you need to take ownership of your mobile presence and digital footprints, and ensure nobody else can watch you without your knowledge,” reads the phone’s description online.

READ MORE: What is PRISM? A cyber-surveillance explainer

Parent company Silent Circle is well known for it’s work in encrypted communications, including the secure email service Silent Mail – which the company shut down in light of the NSA’s spying revelations.

Blackphone will be unveiled at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February.

According to the company’s website, those attending the event will be able to pre-order the device, though there is no indication on when it will be released to the public.


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