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Would You Buy an NSA-Proof Smartphone?

The designers of the Blackphone will offer a smartphone that purportedly protects your privacy, even from the NSA. Stealth!
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"Technology was supposed to make our lives better. Instead, we have lost our privacy. We have become enslaved," says the ominous voice-over in an ad for the Blackphone. "Now, it's time for a change."

The Blackphone is a new smartphone designed by an international team of cryptographers and security experts, and is the pet project of a Switzerland-based joint venture between Silent Circle and Geeksphone. "What we're trying to do is to make a smartphone whose whole purpose is to protect users' privacy," said Phil Zimmerman, President of Silent Circle. A montage of headlines about Edward Snowden and the NSA appear in the video, making it clear that the smartphone's developers feel their product will find a niche with consumers wanting to avoid the government's prying eyes.

The phone's operating system, called PrivatOS, is a modified version of Android "with an additional security measure that allows for encrypted messages," according to Javier Aguera, CEO of Geeksphone. Details about the exact nature of the OS and its protections are scarce though, as the company is keeping information to a minimum before the phone's official launch at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on February 24. Read more about the Blackphone and watch the ad at Mashable.

Readers, how interested are you in a smartphone that protects your privacy? Although pricing for the Blackphone is still a mystery, how much would you be willing to pay? Share your thoughts in the comments below.


Features Writer

Marcy pens consumer news stories of all sorts, in addition to adding pithy prose to many of the roundups you see every day. Her work for DealNews has appeared on sites like Lifehacker, the Huffington Post, and MSN Money. She is by far the most metal member of the DealNews staff, and you can see why by following her on Twitter @ThatBonebright.
Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).
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10 comments
gartjr
ABSOLUTELY!!!
PhotoBrent
I wouldn't pay more, and I don't really care that they're monitoring my life. Whoever has the job is being bored to death!
rbockman
I have no objection to NSA monitoring my calls, they've done a great job using technology to help keep us safe
SpookieAction
Well Phil Zimmerman is the guy that coded PGP, so he knows what he is doing. My guess is that you would still need the phones for both transmitter and receiver. Zimmerman also developed PGPfone, Zphone, and ZRTP for VoIP. Think ZRTP is the only one that survives.

People who think that terrorist can't encrypt now are delusional. Al-Queda and others were using encryption back in 2001.
Nameless
If it worked, I would buy one. At least to make it more difficult for them, if nothing less.
Greg the Gruesome
If the only privacy feature of this smartphone is encrypting the contents of your communications, it won't stop the NSA from collecting your communications' metadata. And what happens when you call someone who doesn't have a Blackphone? If your transmission is decrypted before it reaches their phone, and their transmission is encrypted after it leaves their phone, wouldn't it render the Blackphone insecure?

Anyway, I might be interested in such a phone not because of the NSA but because of hackers.
Witchboard
The phone may be NSA proof, but likely the networks used to communicate and the phone on the other end of the line won't be, so what would be the point?
randallmagg
I, personally, have no confidence it is "NSA-proof" and assume this would only render the NSA to want even more to track everything about you, since this would likely highly raise their suspicions.
patriciae
I think this is a great tool for terrorists and drug dealers.
iainmcphersn
Reminds me of a popup ad that says my computer is infected and it can be cleaned for $19.99.
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