NSA no more: Spanish start-up announces privacy-focused Blackphone

15 Jan 2014

On the back of revelations surrounding the American National Security Agency’s (NSA) snooping across the globe comes a new phone aiming to fight back by giving users total privacy.

In an announcement on its Twitter account, Geeksphone, a multi-national team based in Spain has launched what it calls the first phone to be aimed specifically at maintaining a person’s telephonic privacy.

Expected to be officially launched at the Mobile World Congress next month in Barcelona, Blackphone will be sold unlocked and works with any GSM carrier. Performance benchmarks put it among the top performers from any manufacturer.

Decreasing digital footprint

According to the details on the Blackphone website: “The tools installed on Blackphone give you everything you need to take ownership of your mobile presence and digital footprints, and ensure nobody else can watch you without your knowledge.”

It also promises owners can make and receive secure phone calls, exchange secure texts, exchange and store secure files, have secure video chat, browse privately, and anonymise your activity through a VPN (virtual private network).

The phone has come out of a partnership between Geeksphone with Silent Circle, a global encrypted communications service headquartered in Washington, DC, and co-founded by Mike Janke, former US Navy SEAL and best-selling author, and Phil Zimmermann creator of PGP, widely used email encryption software.

“I have spent my whole career working towards the launch of secure telephony products,” said Zimmermann. “Blackphone provides users with everything they need to ensure privacy and control of their communications, along with all the other high-end smartphone features they have come to expect.”  

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic