Blackphone vows to put privacy ahead of everything else using custom version of Android

An interesting new phone has found its way out of the shadows and into the light. It’s called the Blackphone, and its creators — a joint effort between Geeksphone and Silent Circle — hopes it’ll change mobile privacy for the better. Blackphone aims to “prioritizes the user’s privacy and control, without any hooks to carriers or vendors.”

They’ll do it using a custom version of Android that they call PrivatOS, which will apparently have a framework built-in for securing everything about your mobile communications. Here’s a quick summary of things it’ll be able to do for you:

blackphoneYou can make and receive secure phone calls; exchange secure texts; exchange and store secure files; have secure video chat; browse privately; and anonymize your activity through a VPN.

Blackphone vows to give power back to the user. While they aren’t specific on how any of this will be done, we’re told we should be learning more about it at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next month. For what it’s worth, they say the phone will be just as powerful and capable as the top smartphones from major manufacturers. We won’t take their word for it just yet, but they definitely have our attention from this point forward.

Blackphone is something that is sure to turn the heads of many in a time where more and more folks are conscious about their basic rights to privacy. With the likes of the NSA potentially monitoring communications using backdoor protocols and advanced surveillance techniques, privacy buffs everywhere will have to seriously consider the proposition Blackphone is making. They’re hoping the video you see above will convince you, so go ahead and give it a quick viewing and see how you feel about it.

[via Blackphone]

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  • Chimphappyhour

    Order now and get a free tinfoil hat! :D

    • Robb Nunya

      Yeah, because nobody’s actually tracking us, monitoring us, and listening in on us.

      I personally don’t think this’ll work, but I’m not ragging on them for the attempt. Something needs to be done to shore up our devices’ security seeing as how we’re now being watched under general warrants.

      • hemipw54

        Hey, I like them listening in, makes for loads of fun, misinformation.

        • Robb Nunya

          Heh… I like you.

        • Henri Weich Conradie

          Trolling

          Level – public counter-intelligence

        • Henri Weich Conradie

          Trolling

          Level – civilian counter-intelligence

      • Chimphappyhour

        Oooo! Looks like we struck a nerve. :P

        • Robb Nunya

          Yep. You pushed my “stupid commenter button”

          • Chimphappyhour

            Well you did a good job at being a stupid commenter. Congrats. Job well done. Your button works. :D

          • Robb Nunya

            Yes yes…. I’m sure you think you’re a smart little ape. But you aren’t even smart FOR and ape. Later chimpo. Enjoy licking all those windows.

          • Chimphappyhour

            “smart FOR and ape”

            I love it when people like you try to make yourselves look smart and end up looking stupid in the end. Again, good job! ;)

      • Roaduardo

        It’s such a double edge sword when it comes to making serious attempts at maintain your privacy online. On one hand you can achieve some respectable privacy by using products like this or TOR but then on the other that may make you more of a target for surveillance by the government because you are taking such deliberate measures to conceal yourself.

        This isn’t paranoia. It’s a reasonable outlook especially after what we’re still learning from the Snowden leaks. Now, after the world has seen what types of programs and operations the NSA and other governments agencies have been running will terrorist and other serious criminals continue to use the net as their primary means of communication?

        At the end of the day there seems to be one question that sort of stares at you in big bold letters on your computer and mobile device screen:

        “PRIVACY OR CONVENIENCE? WHAT’S MORE IMPORTANT TO YOU?”

        • Robb Nunya

          Agreed. Privacy/convenience is always a balancing act.

          TOR is good for certain use-cases, but if you think for a second that it keeps you clear of the gub’ment , you’re in for a rude awakening. Esp. since they can see both ends of the path, so they’ll be able to figure it out if you’re worth the effort.

          BTW: Every time I see your user avatar, I think: Spock just posted. :D

          • Roaduardo

            Live long and prosper…

    • Henri Weich Conradie

      Dammit, I had a thought along those lines! Haha, well done! Futurama fans unite!

  • egern

    Does it come in white?

    • Jerel Butler

      Blackphone in white… Stay classy.

      • CerealFTW

        stay classy San Diego

    • hemipw54

      White is just the absence of black.

  • Jerel Butler

    I hope their framework can be used on cyangenmod

  • jessez93

    seriously consider something from a company we’ve never heard about? yeah right.

  • No_Nickname90

    I feel like with all the possible encryption, things will be running quite slow. I would love to see how well the user experience works out on this phone.

  • CerealFTW

    imagine if Google bought this and incorporated it into aosp. I wonder what the NSA would think of that

  • Mr. Smith

    All it would take is an order from fIsc and NSA and they have to comply no such thing as secure

  • hemipw54

    That sexy hot girl in the video were to ask me for my passwords I am afraid nothing of mine would be secure anymore. ;-)

  • StacyD

    This is ridiculous for most people. Its only really viable for the Corporate network.

    You still need to be paying the SilentCircle subscription fees and they don’t alk about what level of encryption either.

    I am guessing that this is a suite of TLS, AES128 enabled applications *maybe also TwoFish?* (SIP phone, MMS, Keyed email *PGP*?). It also appears that all of the network traffic is still directed through the “Silent Circle” network. I can also surmise that you would have to use a VPN client that they specify because not all VPN’s use the /dev/tun interface (which does enable you to “stack” VPN’s). There is likely an embedded VPN which takes over the global INET interface for data at boot time, listening for when ServiceState flags “connected”.

    So…. a built in VPN + TLS apps that don’t allow you to use the normal VOICE lines in the Phone.

    Android 4.3 with SELinux enabled, few frameworks/permissions removed/faked, only charging and mtp enabled.

    How close am I? I am betting I am pretty close to their implementation and THEY ARE NOT THE ONLY ONES MAKING THESE KINDS OF DEVICES, but maybe the cheapest if its under $1200.

    You want peer to peer privacy? Get Redphone. Its Open Source, Peer-reviewed.
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.thoughtcrime.redphone

    Encrypted Email – Tons of apps
    MMS – Tons of apps

    RUN AOSP BASED ROMS! Very few backdoors, very well documented.

    Bazinga!

  • John_Jason

    Buying a Blackphone will probably automatically make you a target for advanced surveillance by the NSA. What saves us all is that we don’t look suspicious.

  • DavidVarghese

    It’ll never see an update.
    But in all seriousness, if you wanna play hunter and prey with the NSA, you’ll lose.

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  • pr0xidian

    looks pretty sweet. think I’ll keep an eye on this one.

  • Tomato88

    When a product showcase video shows more development center interior than the product itself, it’s very likely to be a flop.