Blackphone is back: Privacy firm launches its next-generation ‘spy’ phone and a tablet that’s impossible to track

If you’re fed up of apps asking to access your private data and don’t want advertisers tracking your every move, there is now a range of ‘spy’ phones designed to keep you off the grid.

The original Blackphone was unveiled last year and its successor – the Blackphone 2 – as well as the first ever Blacktablet have been announced at this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.00

The range is fully encrypted by default and comes with a suite of secure features that let you make calls and send texts that are impossible to eavesdrop on or track.

Blackphone’s Android-based devices are built by Spanish manufacturer GeeksPhone alongside security experts Silent Circle and Pretty Good Privacy (PGP). They launched the original handset at last year’s Mobile World Congress and told MailOnline that the range is for people who ‘want to stay private without compromising on the features seen on typical Android phones.

Everything from the custom-built PrivatOS to web browsing and apps, are encrypted, or have been fitted with an extra layer of security. PrivatOS is a so-called ‘skin’ that runs on top of traditional Android software, meaning all Android apps are compatible. The encryption on the Blackphone, Blackphone 2 and tablet is done via the Silent Circle and SpiderOak privacy and security software.

For the Blackphone 2, this software has been upgraded to version 1.1, designed to separate work apps from personal ones through the use of multiple profiles on the same device

If the phone is locked, a business can remotely lock and wipe just the enterprise profile while letting the owner take control of the private profile. Internet access is carried out through a virtual private network (VPN) that sends and receives data in a way designed to keep it hidden. When the phone boots up, it asks for a password and PIN before a wizard guides users through the security options.

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HOW SECURE IS THE BLACKPHONE

  1. Everything, from the custom-built PrivatOS to web browsing and apps, are encrypted, or has been fitted with an extra layer of security.
  2. The encryption on the Blackphone, Blackphone 2 and Blackphone tablet is done via the Silent Circle and SpiderOak privacy and security software.
  3. Internet access on the phone is carried out through a virtual private network (VPN) that sends and receives data in a way that’s designed to keep it hidden.
  4. When the phone boots up it asks for a password and PIN before a wizard guides users through the security options.
  5. For example, it shows users which apps want access to which data. The BlackPhone owner can then decide to restrict access to that information and handpick the apps and the data they share.

With the Blackphone 2, in particular, the experts have teamed up with business technology and security experts such as Citrix to make it more appealing to companies and their employees. The Blackphone 2 is larger than the original with a screen size of 5.5-inches compared to last year’s 4.7-inch. A 13MP camera has been added to the rear, up from 8MP, and a 5MP is now on the front. The Blackphone 2 has doubled the storage of its predecessor and added a longer battery life – although the firm didn’t give specifics. It will go on sale by June this year, although price details were not announced. Last year’s phone cost $629 (£376) plus shipping and the updated version is likely to cost roughly the same amount. Silent Circle subscriptions start at $12.95 (£8.40) a month for 100 Silent World Minutes in 120 destinations, up to $39.95 (£26) for 1,000 minutes. But this is included in the price of the phone or tablet.

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Reference: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2975406/Blackphone-Privacy-firm-launches-generation-range-spy-devices-impossible-track.html

 

2 thoughts on “Blackphone is back: Privacy firm launches its next-generation ‘spy’ phone and a tablet that’s impossible to track

  1. I’ve never heard of this phone and I think that the concept and actually phones is really cool. But I wonder how it compares to a burner phone. I’m not even sure how burner phones work but I assume they are pretty similar. Although the concept of this phone is pretty cool, I could not see the use of this phone for a common person. I could only see maybe big companies who do sketchy things, or government agencies using these phones. And I am sure that anyone who would go to length of making their stuff phone that secure, would do it themselves. But the drawback to doing it by yourself could be the time it takes to create the software, which is why this phone is reasonable for its price. And because this phone only attracts certain people, I cannot see this company selling many units and don’t know how they could stay in business.

  2. This is interesting. I have never heard about this product before. We talked a lot in class about security and privacy, so seeing a product that is largely targeting this area is nice to see. I have tried to find out how this product played out, considering it is not that popular and attracts only certain people, but could not find numbers and statistics. why would anyone want a phone like this?? Yes, its a privacy thing, but are you really that private and focused on not getting out there?? In my opinion, for someone to actually buy and use this phone, they are not sane. They have tricks up their sleeves because they are going too far and doing too much with this. In class we talked about web browsers and other similar stuff that will not and do not track, but all of that in a phone is insane unless you have that security clearance (government, CIA, FBI, etc) other than that something like this is not necessary for the everyday average person.

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