Blackphone 2 ‘privacy’ Android handset revamped

28 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Privacy-focused Blackphone 2 encrypts calls and messages by default.

The 5.5-inch Android-based device is focused on privacy and security, delivering a pre-installed suite of apps that lets you make private, encrypted calls, send texts, precisely control what the phone’s apps can and cannot access and keep fully separate profiles with different levels of security. Blackphone 2, the sequel to the privacy-focused Blackphone, has launched today, promising to protect users against government surveillance and cyber attacks without compromising on functionality. While a few things changed since the phone’s launch — for example, its Android-based OS is now called Silent OS instead of PrivatOS, and the company has a new President and CEO, Bill Conner — it is the device we were promised in March, with an octa-core processor, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of storage and a 13-megapixel camera.

The original Blackphone, born out of a joint venture between Silent Circle and Geeksphone in 2014, claimed to be the first “secure by design” handset, offering full device encryption by default. Blackphone 2 is available to purchase for $799 RRP* and is the first component of Silent Circle’s Enterprise Privacy Platform (EPP) announced at Mobile World Congress earlier this year. However, it was criticised by some for its lack of focus on design, and the fact that it did not offer access to Google Play, choosing instead to launch its own app store with a curated selection of privacy-optimised apps.

At the core of these is Silent Phone, which lets users make private voice calls and send encrypted messages (the messaging option was previously separated into an app called Silent Text, which has now been merged with Silent Phone). Other features of note are the ability to remotely wipe the device as well as granular control of how and where the phone’s Wi-Fi and Bluetooth can connect. “People and enterprises want to take back control of their privacy but too often they don’t know how, or they feel they must compromise too much – that’s why the time is right for Blackphone 2,” Conner said in a statement. Users can control and fine-tune their individual app permissions and the data the apps have access to, and can also build separate, secure “Spaces” for their sensitive business data and personal apps.

The new smartphone comes pre-loaded with Silent Phone – Silent Circle’s industry-leading, private communication app – which offers encrypted, secure voice calls, conference calling, video conferencing, secure text and file transfers in one simple app. “Today our privacy is increasingly threatened by governments, businesses and individuals,” Bill Conner continued. “In addition, the growing number of companies where employees work on their own devices in and out of the office means that it is ever more vital to build smartphones that deliver on privacy. It is not about candy-colors, emoji keyboards, curved screens or ‘the next big thing’”, said Janke, “it’s about security, privacy and protecting your digital life, plain and simple. It’s hard not to be incredibly excited about Blackphone 2 when you can literally hold privacy in your hands.” Ever wondered just how many permissions you are giving away when using some of your favorite apps?

We asked people to read some of these permissions out loud so we could capture their reactions: About Silent Circle Silent Circle is a leader in enterprise privacy, delivered through a revolutionary platform of devices, software and services, built on its proprietary ZRTP technology, a fundamentally different, cloud-based, mobile architecture.

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