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Boeing launches self-destructing Black phone for secret government missions

Not like that other Blackphone
Thu Feb 27 2014, 16:50

BOEING HAS ANNOUNCED a smartphone called, perhaps confusingly, the Black phone, which it has developed for US government and defence industry personnel.

We say confusing because we met a Blackphone just recently, and that one is not aimed at government workers, at least not as end users.

The Boeing Black phone is not like the Silent Circle Blackphone, and that's clear right from the start.

"The US [defence] and security communities demand trusted access to data to accomplish their missions," thunders Boeing's introduction.

"The Boeing Black smartphone was designed with security and modularity in mind to ensure our customers can use the same smartphone across a range of missions and configurations."

To tempt government users, the handset has a self-destruct mechanism. According to reports, any attempt to open up the Black phone will result in data and software contained within the device getting deleted, and make the phone unusable.

The smartphone uses the Android mobile operating system, which should be familiar to some, but it has additional features that might appeal to privacy aware users. Larger batteries are available, and satellite communications, biometric readers and advanced location tracking features are onboard. Dual SIM slots are there so users can switch between public and government mobile networks, and LTE, WCDMA and GSM are all supported.

The phone is assembled in the US, says the onscreen text, and the phone and its encryption features are shown floating in front of the Pentagon building in Arlington, Virginia, just across the Potomac river from Washington, DC. There are no flags waving or anthems playing in the background, but you get the idea.

The Boeing Black phone has a dual-core 1.2GHz ARM Cortex A9 processor, weighs 170g and has a 4.3in 540x960 resolution display.

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) filing for the Black phone provides some details. There, The Verge reports, it's revealed that the handset has tamper-proof screws and a scorched earth anti-intrusion policy.

"The Boeing Black phone is manufactured as a sealed device both with epoxy around the casing and with screws, the heads of which are covered with tamper proof covering to identify attempted disassembly," the FCC filing reads.

"Any attempt to break open the casing of the device would trigger functions that would delete the data and software contained within the device and make the device inoperable." µ


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