The new Blackphone 2 is designed to protect you from snooping governments and hackers
Between the IRS possessing Stingray cellphone surveillance gear and police departments such as the NYPD being caught using x-ray fans to search the public without probable cause, people are searching for a way to genuinely keep personal information private without tipping off the authorities or compromising the ease and convenience of modern technology.
Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Silent Circle has created a super private phone called Blackphone 2. The company’s CEO claims it is the only phone on the market that prevents governments from tracking its customers.
According to CNN Money, Silent Circle even moved its operations from the United States to Switzerland last year because the company “can’t risk being put out of business with a single, secret legal order” and CEO Bill Conner vows to Blackphone customers: “I’m never going to give the government a backdoor.”
Judging from the outside alone, the phone looks like a typical, top-of-the-line smartphone. CNN Money reports the Blackphone 2 has a 5.5 inch touch screen (with “gorilla glass”), two cameras (13 megapixel in the back, 5 MP in the front), 32 gigabytes of internal memory, and a powerful Qualcomm processor. It’s designed to feel like a familiar Android phone, but it has built-in privacy features no other phone can match.
There are three main differences that set the Blackphone 2 apart from any other phone: Spaces, Silent Phone, and the phone's Security Settings.
Apps – whether they are maps, games, or social media – are all designed to record highly personal data and then quietly selling it to advertisers and other firms.That’s why they’re also a huge security problem and an easy target for identity theft and hackers.
The Blackphone is designed to stop apps from collecting your personal information through its unique security settings. It lets you see every single thing each app collects, including sound picked up from your microphone. The phone then allows you to decide what information you want to be shared.
There’s also a highly private communication platform called “Silent Phone” to stop the government from listening to your phone calls or reading your text messages.
After the Patriot Act became the USA Freedom Act, the government no longer collects or stores our phone conversations – our cell phone providers do that for them.
Regardless of your cell phone provider (Verizon, AT&T, etc), whenever a call comes into your phone, the cell phone provider can see who is calling you, notify the government, and then allow the government to tap into your conversation.
To get around this everyday occurrence, there’s special software in Blackphones to automatically encrypt phone calls and text messages, called “Silent Phone.”
CNN Money reports the service is free for the first year, and then it costs $13 per month after that.
Blackphone 2 also has separate “spaces,” which allows the user to create two different levels of privacy on the same device.
With a few clicks, the user can switch from a “regular” phone mode (one with average tracking and data sharing) to a super-private phone where everything is encrypted. Both spaces are custom designed by the Blackphone 2 user.
The phone also has a solution for the untrustworthy local Wi-Fi connections. The phone can automatically turn off Wi-Fi as you leave your house, therefore preventing you from accidently connecting to random, public Wi-Fi networks that may be unsafe.
If you want to save information on “The Cloud,” the phone will allow you to do this incognito as well. Many people don’t know this, but Apple and Google have secret access to messages and photos stored on iCloud or Google’s online services, such as Google Drive. Silent Circle says all user data is encrypted, and the company does not retain any copies, therefore it can’t give up anything to law enforcement.
You can find out more about the phone at Silent Circle’s website.
Unfortunately, with the average American making less than $45K per year, the Blackphone 2’s $799 price tag might be out of reach for most.No one is buying a phone for a 13-megapixel camera, but can you put a price on privacy? Is the Blackphone 2 on your Christmas list? Sound off below!
The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of Ora Media, LLC its affiliates, or its employees.
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