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Secure Blackphone handset promises to thwart NSA snooping

Set to debut at Mobile World Congress next month
Wed Jan 15 2014, 10:41
Blackphone is a security focused smartphone

LITTLE KNOWN PHONE MAKER Geeksphone has teamed up with Silent Circle to launch the first "privacy focused" smartphone, in a bid to thwart NSA surveillance.

Named Blackphone, the handset claims to be the first mobile phone to put privacy and control in the hands of its users, and clearly hopes to attract buyers in wake of recent PRISM revelations.

The Blackphone runs a custom, security focused version of Google's Android mobile operating system called PrivatOS. According to Geeksphone, this forked version of Android will allow users to make and receive secure phone calls, exchange secure texts, exchange and store files securely, conduct secure video chats and access websites privately by anonymising web browsing activity through a virtual private network (VPN).

The Blackphone handset will also be sold directly through a dedicated website, with Geeksphone boasting that will keep it independent of mobile phone vendors and telecoms carriers.

Geeksphone said, "Blackphone is unlocked and works with any GSM carrier. Performance benchmarks put it among the top performers from any manufacturer.

"It has the features necessary to do all the things you need, as well as all the things you want, while maintaining your privacy and security and giving you the freedom to choose your carrier, your apps, and your location."

We don't know much about the specifications and features of the Geeksphone Blackphone yet, although its website shows the device as a black rectangular mobile handset sporting three capacitive Android keys. If the promo video for the phone (below) is anything to go by, the Blackphone will also sport dual cameras, and will be available in black and white models. 

The Blackphone will debut at next month's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, with pre-orders set to begin on 24 February. There's no word on pricing or UK availability yet. µ

 

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