Secure smartphone for spooks? Boeing is working on the ‘Black Phone’

27 Feb 2014

Aircraft maker Boeing is the unlikely creator of a new totally secure smartphone aimed solely for secure communication between government agencies and their contractors.

Simply known as ‘Boeing Black’, the secret device – discovered via a filing to the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) – is a the dual-SIM phone that supports GSM, WCDMA and LTE using micro-SIM cards. The device will also have an HDMI port, USB, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity.

Code-named H8VBLK1, Boeing is seeking to have the device inspected privately by the FCC and withheld from public scrutiny.

“Boeing has developed its Black phone primarily by governmental agencies and their contractors to ensure that data and voice communications undertaken by their respective employees are transmitted and stored in a highly secure manner,” Boeing said in its filing to the FCC.

It further revealed: “Boeing’s Black phone will be sold primarily to government agencies and companies engaged in contractual activities with those agencies that are related to defence and homeland security. The device will be marketed and sold in a manner such that low-level technical and operational information about the product will not be provided to the general public. Detailed technical information distributed at trade shows will be limited or protected by non-disclosure agreements.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years