With the NSA proving it has the technology to collect data on almost anyone around the world, it makes perfect sense for consumers to take measures to protect themselves and their privacy. To make this possible for everyone, a pair of companies have teamed up to launch a smartphone that is focused on protecting the user's privacy. This smartphone is called the Blackphone, and it is designed to run a security-oriented version of Android, which is called PrivatOS.
The companies claim PrivatOS will allow users to make secure phone calls, send secure text messages, and make video calls free from the NSA snooping capabilities.
The project is a spin-off of Phil Zimmermann's company Silent Circle and Geeksphone, a startup company from Spain that created the Firefox OS developer devices. Zimmermann became well known after he created an early email encryption standard named PGP before starting Silent Circle.
In press release announcing the Blackphone project, Zimmermann noted that the phone will offer everything users come to expect from a high-end smartphone, but with increased privacy and security options.
"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."
It is not certain how Zimmernann and his associates will achieve the task of keeping the NSA at bay with the Blackphone project. However, from what we know of Silent Circle, the company has a number of encryption products it could incorporate into its Android-based operating system that could replace the functionality of stock apps.
If the Blackphone project is capable of making headway into increased consumer privacy that can withstand NSA intrusion, then we might see several vendors proposing security as the main selling point of future devices.
Zimmermann plans to unveil Blackphone at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. After that, the phone will go on pre-order by the end of February. At the moment, we have no details on the price of the handset.