Maxwell Smart used his smart shoe phone for secret talks in the T.V. show, Get Smart. But he ended up in a lot of closets and phone booths to make his calls really private. He also tried talking to others in the “cone of silence,” but that usually didn’t work; all this was amusing escape from the simple, workaday world back then of active spy imaginative spy toys.
Today, we are faced with the real-world; there are the Edward Snowden info leaks revealing NSA spying and many other violations to our privacy in many forms and types of communications. In response to this, we have some new high security phones that were just introduced this month. They are supposed to protect us from eavesdropping and spying.
The question is, do they really work and are they worth it? These recent phones are Silent Circle Systems’ “Blackphone,” and Boeing’s ‘Black’ Smartphone.
Silent Circle is the Swiss start-up that is launching its smartphone with encrypted communications, and is planning a series of devices around the same idea, one of the company’s co-founders said at recent 2014 Mobile world conference in Barcelona.
The Blackphone handset, which was unveiled at the event goes on sale in June.
It looks like a typical Android smartphone and is based on a security-hardened version of the OS called “PrivatOS.” Standard applications include secure calling and text messaging, encrypted file transfer and video chat.
This phone costs $630 and $120/month security service plus the cost of cell phone service. This is fairly pricey but worth it if you are extremely paranoid, are doing illegal activities, or you just need to protect your privacy from intrusion from spying competitors (and who doesn’t)?
Also, Boeing has made a smartphone that appears to have come straight out of a James Bond movie. Codenamed “Black,” (notice the naming trend) this spy-like phone will erase all data and deactivate if tampered with or pried open. It is an Android phone. Boeing’s Black phone will be sold primarily to government agencies and companies engaged in contractual activities with those agencies that are related to defense and homeland security,” the letter from Boeing says.
Boeing says that the device won’t be available to the consumer market and technical information on “Black” is to remain confidential or protected by non-disclosure agreements. This is most likely due to the device’s high security. The phone, monthly service and cell phone services are currently unknown of course.
Think of the movie, Zero Dark Thirty, where operations are compromised and shut down; phones need to be deactivated. I’m sure it will be very popular with government agency work in sensitive data areas.
Frankly, I think I’ll adapt a wait and see attitude. Personally, I’d like to bring back the Smart Shoe Phone (so can we have it in other colors than black, please)! What do you think about these phones? Will you consider getting one?