Since Edward Snowden leaked details about secret NSA surveillance programs like PRISM last summer, online users have been more concerned about privacy. In addition to using encrypted Web browsers and alternative search engines, users are looking for smartphone apps and services that allow them to use mobile devices without being watched.
Enter "Blackphone," introduced at the 2014 Mobile Summit by Geeksphone and the encrypted-communications firm Silent Circle. The “Blackphone” is a premium smartphone built for privacy and security.
Described by its makers as the “world’s first smartphone that places privacy and control directly in the hands of its users,” Blackphone can be pre-ordered now for about $629.
Blackphone runs on PrivateOS, a customized version of Google’s Android mobile operating system. It also comes pre-loaded with a suite of apps built by Silent Circle that are dedicated to keeping data secured and away from government surveillance, such as Silent Phone, Silent Text and Silent Contacts. Blackphone also has a built-in firewall and a feature to remotely erase the phone's data if necessary.
Blackphone also comes loaded with a “Kismet Smart Wi-Fi Manager” to provide private Web browsing, secure file-sharing and security on public Wi-Fi networks.
As for hardware, the Blackphone is no wimp. Blackphone runs on a quad-core 2GHz processer and packs 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage space. Blackphone also supports 4G LTE connections.
Users also get 5GB of encrypted data backup for their Blackphone through SpiderOak. Blackphone is also built to connect to a Virtual Private Network through Disconnet.me.
But Silent Circle warns that Blackphone isn’t entirely NSA-proof. Even though voice and text data is encrypted, the NSA can still access metadata from Blackphone users about the date, time and locations calls are made, plus information about the user’s identity, as this information has more to do with the mobile provider than the device.