Privacy focused Blackphone starts shipping

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Blackphone, an Android-based smartphone developed by Silent Circle, SGP Technologies and Geeksphone, is now shipping. The phone became a sensation during Mobile World Congress as it offered extreme privacy of communication. After the NSA revelations made by Edward Snowden, there is a huge demand for services or devices which offer privacy from NSA and other surveillance agencies. However even the Blackphone doesn’t offer any protection from NSA. Phil Zimmermann, one of the creators of the phone, said that Blackphone doesn’t make you NSA proof.

Blackphone is being developed by the same company which chose to shut down its secure email service instead of complying with NSA demands. The company is using Android KitKat to create a custom OS called PrivOS which comes with a lot of security and privacy features.

That’s one of the beauties of open source Android over fully closed source iOS or Windows as not only users can see and study the source code, they can also create something like PrivOS to offer custom solutions to user.

The phone that will keep your conversation out of the reach of agencies like NSA.
The phone that will keep your conversation out of the reach of agencies like NSA.

There is an increasing demand for solutions which are extremely secure, and Blackphone is filling that niche nicely. Here is a quick look at some of the privacy features offered by Blackphone:

  • Private communications: Blackphone features private encrypted voice and video calls and text messaging with attachments via Silent Circle ‘s, Silent Phone and Silent Text apps created by Phil Zimmermann and Jon Callas , giving users the freedom to communicate securely anywhere they find cellular or Wi-Fi connections.
  • Wi-Fi security: The included Kismet Smarter Wi-Fi Manager prevents Wi-Fi hotspots from capturing Blackphone users’ wireless connection history and other information that could be used to track users’ locations or patterns of activity and information about sensitive office or home networks.
  • Security Center: Gives owners complete control over application permissions, allowing immediate changes without rebooting or reinstalling.
  • Remote wipe and protect: A powerful remote wipe tool gives Blackphone owners further peace of mind in having the ability to control their phone’s data from anywhere in the world.
  • Anonymous Web browsing and VPN: Disconnect Search is the default search provider for Blackphone, offering private browsing protection from invasive Web monitoring by hiding users’ IP address, browser cookies and personal information. Blackphone also features Disconnect’s Secure Wireless app, which is a smart VPN designed to prevent eavesdropping over Wi-Fi and cellular networks.
  • Private cloud storage: Blackphone owners can access files in SpiderOak’s private encrypted cloud service right from their mobile device, knowing only they have the means to decrypt and access their private files.

“Blackphone’s arrival puts mobile privacy directly in the hands of professionals and consumers everywhere. In a world where devices and apps increasingly offer features only in return for users’ personal or sensitive information, the pent-up demand for Blackphone shows there is strong, international demand for our brand’s devices and services that stand apart by placing privacy before all else,” said SGP Technologies CEO Toby Weir-Jones.

Blackphone is available for $629 from the company store and they are already out of stock.