DEUTSCHE TELEKOM HAS REVEALED plans to launch a smartphone app for encryption of phone calls and SMS messages.
The firm will be the first big telecommunications player to offer a "mass market-compatible product" according to Reuters.
Germany has rounded on the news that the US and UK are engaged in mass surveillance of its politicians and people, and it has expressed alarm and anger and is looking into its options.
Chancellor Angela Merkel reacted angrily to news that her phone calls might have been monitored for 10 years, and Germany is interested in a European data-sharing agreement that excludes the US and the UK. A complementary initiative by a large European telecommunications company is likely to be welcomed.
"We'll talk with France about how we can maintain a high level of data protection," said Chancellor Merkel this month as she traveled to a meeting with French President Hollande.
"Above all, we'll talk about European providers that offer security for our citizens, so that one shouldn't have to send emails and other information across the Atlantic. Rather, one could build up a communication network inside Europe."
Deutsche Telekom's app will be officially introduced at the Cebit trade show. It will be managed by Deutsche Telekom's enterprise unit. Enterprise customers will get the software first, along with the German Sichere Mobile Kommunikation mbH (GSMK) security agency.
"To the best of my knowledge, this marks the first time that a major network operator throws its full weight behind end-to-end mobile voice encryption," said GSMK chief executive Bjoern Rupp at MWC. "This is not just in the form of a specialised niche product, but in the form of a mass-market compatible product that will be rolled out to all of its customers." µ
Sign up for INQbot – a weekly roundup of the best from the INQ