PrivatOS-Based Blackphone Keeps NSA at Bay

NSA has been known to disrespect even the privacy of common people, and in this context, owning such devices as the PrivatOS-running Blackphone seems to be the ideal fix.

The answer to governmental agencies who like to meddle is a smartphone that focuses on privacy. Blackphone is the result of the collaboration between Phil Zimmermann’s company Silent Circle and Geeksphone, better known as a manufacturer of FirefoxOS smartphones. Since privacy violation is an international matter, the solution also had to be planned internationally. Besides Phil Zimmermann, the creator of PGP (Pretty Good Privacy), the most widely used e-mail encryption software, a lot of other cryptographers joined this project, in an attempt to make the world’s first NSA-proof smartphone.

Blackphone is running PrivatOS, a version of Android that focuses on security. This heavily modified operating system will ensure the fact that no one intercepts the calls people are placing or receiving. The security of the text messages, video chats, file transfers and storage is also promised.

In a press release, Zimmermann admitted that “I have spent my whole career working towards the launch of secure telephony products. Blackphone provides users with everything they need to ensure privacy and control of their communications, along with all the other high-end smartphone features they have come to expect.”

While to some Blackphone will bring some relief, others are skeptical. First of all, they fear that the encryption algorithms won’t be that strong, and secondly, they claim that Blackphone is just a way to make profit after the NSA scandal triggered by Edward Snowden. Paranoid Androids seem unable to believe that a real solution is provided to them in the form of an encrypted smartphone. Exact details on how Silent Circle and Geeksphone are planning to achieve encryption of such a high degree are unknown at the moment. Also, I assume that for encryption to work on both ends of a conversation, the participants would both have to use a Blackphone. Otherwise, it would be easier to intercept the party who doesn’t encrypt the phone calls and text messages.

Since Geeksphone, one of the main contributors to this project, is a Spanish company, the fact that Blackphone will be launched at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, on February 24th, should not come as a surprise. Pre-orders will also begin on that day.

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