‘Is This Line Secure?’ Blackphone Founder Says ‘Yes’

on Monday, Mar. 3rd

NPR’s Aarti Shahani had a report on this past Friday on a cellphone company that is touting its wares as being more secure than the average smartphone. The Android device and company are called Blackphone, and the founder is a former Navy SEAL.

The pitch for the device goes a little like this:

Take apps that look free but mine your data to earn big dollars. Facebook tries to get your contacts, Google Maps tries to get your geolocation, Pandora gets your music preferences. Blackphone has a default setting: no — unless you proactively choose yes.

Blackphone also rebels against smartphone norms. Say you want to spend Sunday afternoon lost in a coffee shop or a clothing store. You might think you’re off the grid, but your phone, using Wi-Fi, is talking to beacons “finding out where you’ve been, making offerings to you,” [founder Mike] Janke says. “What Blackphone does, it’ll automatically stop that beacon activity, shut off any Wi-Fi pinging to protect you from those type of stalking things.”

Shahani makes it clear that this isn’t NSA-proof technology we’re talking about here, and throws some cold water in the back end of the report on Blackphone’s hype. I’d be suspicious of any claims of security on a device that uses the public networks.

Now if the pCell technology that was introduced by Steve Perlman  recently becomes a real standard then we can talk about secure cellphone communications.



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