Blackphone – A New Android-based Phone Built Around Privacy

January 16, 2014 – 5:20 AM

Blackphone is a new venture from the collaboration of US Silent Circle and Spain’s Geeksphone. Its website is registered in privacy-conscious Switzerland. Most notably it includes the renowned cryptographers Phil Zimmermann and Jon Callas, the originators of PGP. As yet there is little technical information beyond a brief video on the Blackphone website – but the pedigree is impressive. Silent Circle, like Lavabit, shut down its secure email service when it became clear it could not protect its customers from court orders and NSA surveillance.

Zimmermann explains that secure email was just a detour. His real interest was secure telephony; but the technology did not at the time exist. “I had to wait for the rest of the technology infrastructure to catch up to make it possible to do secure telephony. PGP was kind of a detour for me while waiting for the rest of the technology to catch up to make really good secure telephony possible.”

Now the technology and a pressing need combine. “The time has come,” announces the video. “Data and humans have become one. Technology was supposed to make our lives better. Instead we have lost our privacy. We have become enslaved. Now it’s time for a change.”

“The number one priority in creating Blackphone,” says Zimmermann, “is to uphold the objectives of privacy. It’s not to serve some other business model of monetizing customer data. What we’re trying to do is make a smartphone who`s whole purpose is to protect users’ privacy.”


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