Looks like there’s a market for privacy phones already.
It’s been less than a year that Mr. Snowden became a household name. The government slamming him for being a traitor, and some claiming him to be a hero. So what does your smartphone reveal about you anyways? What can the NSA track and what can you do about it?
Blackphone vs. FreedomPop’s Privacy Phone
Tech startups are popping up left and right. Privacy is becoming a big concern now that the world is moving into a digital age. Let’s take a look at the two smartphones that are suppose to “add an additional layer of privacy protection and Internet security from third parties”.
– Custom-designed handset by Geeksphone
– Runs on a modified version of Android with added security (called PrivatOS)
– Features a 2-GHz quad core processor with 2 GB of RAM, 4.7 in HD display and supports LTE / Wi-fi
– Unlocked, up to user to choose which cellular carrier
– Pre-loaded with Silent Circle’s own privacy apps — including Silent Phone and Silent Text, both VoIP based
– Disconnect Search and Secure Wireless doesn’t track personal information
– Has a Security center that allows users to pick and choose what each installed app can do — an “a la carte” menu
– Comes with remote-wipe and anti-theft built into the phone’s iOS
– Costs $629 up front before a carrier pay-as-you-go plan
– Includes subscription fees to a number of highly reputable and secure services, including 2 years of Silent Circle
– Does not have a pre-loaded anti-virus software
– Users can only call or text people with either Silent Call or Silent text apps – this is why they are pushing the 3 one-year subscription app deal to users
– Doesn’t use regular cellular voice and text channels
– Done via VoIP (voice over IP) on the phone’s Wi-Fi or 3G connection
– Uses the commercial virtual private network (VPN) client private Wi-Fi network to encrypt and anonymize all traffic
– VPN lets the web bowser to “bypass any website restrictions and connect to any site online” – can get through location-specific restriction, but not paywalls
– Uses the Kaspersky Internet Security for Android anti-virus app to keep the phone safe from malware
– Rely on Kaspersky Internet Security which can remotely lock, locate and wipe a missing phone
– Cost only $189 up front (which includes 3 months of unlimited voice and texting and 500MB of data) – this costs $440 less than Blackphone
– Operates on a refurbished Samsung Galaxy S II running on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean (outdated model)
– Specs include: small 4.3 inch screen, 1.5 GHz dual-core CPU and 3G only
Both creators included a disclaimer that their privacy phones are not 100% secure, but then again nothing in this age is. These phones only add an extra layer of protection to your mobile activity. If we put these 2 prototype models side by side, it looks like the Blackphone is more developed in security than the FreedomPop’s Privacy Phone – but we won’t know until these two smartphones come into the market this year.