By now we’ve learned a lot about how the NSA intercepts private communications, whether it’s tapping into fiber optic cables, bugging laptops before they’re delivered to customers or just collecting mounds of data from tech companies upon request.
Still, a new company called Blackphone believes it can create a smartphone that’s safe from government snooping. Blackphone promises secure phone calls, texts, file transfers and video chats, along with private browsing and anonymized activity through a virtual private network. The phone is a partnership between Silent Circle, which offers encrypted communications services, and Madrid-based phone maker Geeksphone.
Blackphone has lofty goals, but right now there aren’t a lot of details, either on the phone itself or on how communications will stay private. Blackphone says it’s creating a modified version of Android called PrivatOS, and is promising high-powered hardware, but that’s about the extent of what we know.
It’s worth noting that Silent Circle decided to shut down its e-mail service last year to prevent NSA spying, and the company’s work on a more secure service called Dark Mail is still a work in progress. A completely secure smartphone will be a much bigger undertaking, so it’s safe to assume the Blackphone is pretty far from a release date. (There’s no official word on pricing or availability.)
Nonetheless, Blackphone will begin taking pre-orders on February 24, when the Mobile World Congress trade show kicks off in Barcelona. More details will be revealed then.