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Meet the Blackphone: The Promisse of a Spy-Proof Smartphone

Spanish company Geeksphone, in partnership with encrypted communications firm Silent Circle, announced a smartphone that takes mobile security seriously.

It’s called Blackphone, and it runs PrivatOS, a security-focused version of Android.

Although there are other international handset makers that offer a similar “security first” promise, Blackphone is the first security-based smartphone to try to appeal to the general smartphone populous.

The device “is a carrier- and vendor-independent smartphone giving individuals and organizations the ability to make and receive secure phone calls, exchange secure texts, transfer and store files, and video chat without compromising user privacy on the device,” according to the press release. 

This anonymity will be achieved through piping your data through an anonymous VPN.

The simple, nondescript device comes from the mind of Phil Zimmermann, who created the data encryption program PGP and is the co-founder of Silent Circle.

“I’ve spent my whole career working towards the launch of secure telephony products,” Zimmermann said in a statement.

“Blackphone provides users with everything they need to ensure privacy and control of their communications, along with all the other high-end smartphone features they have come to expect.” 

According to Popular Mechanics, the details and specs are still vague, and it’s unclear what the user experience will be like.

Of course, perfect encryption (which many argue isn’t even possible) is a two-way street. Whether calling, emailing, or texting, the level of security is dependent on what tech or services are being used on the other end of the line.

So until the market becomes flooded with security devices or big name OEMs and carriers adopt more secure practices, perfect mobile security will still remain relatively out of reach.