In a time where Privacy is just a myth, Silent Circle & Geeksphone have announced the formation of a new Switzerland-based joint venture and its first surveillance-thwarting product, the Blackphone. This Blackphone runs a new security-oriented version of Android called PrivatOS. They claim that the Blackphone will put privacy and control directly in the hands of the user.
The Blackphone will be a carrier and vendor-independent smartphone that will allow consumers and businesses to make and receive secure phone calls, exchange secure texts, transfer and store files, and video chat without compromising privacy on the device. But all this is possible only if both the users have the Blackphone smartphone.
Though nothing has been revealed on the specs of the phone, the company claims that the hardware is a “top performer”. More importantly, there isn’t a lot of detail yet about how the privacy measures are going to work other than encrypted messaging, “secure telephony”, and privacy measures baked into the hardware, including on the CPU.
There used to be a time when our society was built and maintained by blood, sweat, and hard work. Today, however, our world runs on information and communication. With the ever growing amount of digital information that we create, modify, and share on a daily basis the need for ensuring the security of that information also increases.
One of the most common methods in today’s world for transferring our important data from one place to another is the ubiquitous USB memory key (or Thumb drive, or Memory stick, or little magic contraption of wonderfulness). With the current availability of high capacity, small form-factor USB flash memory comes a universal availability of inexpensive storage devices. Don’t believe me? Go to your local computer store (heck even Wal-Mart) and look for the USB drive section, if there is not an entire aisle in the store dedicated solely to these little titans of data migration then there is definitely a large section of one.
This universal availability comes at a cost though, more of us every day are loading Gigabytes worth of personal, corporate, or even government related information onto these, for the most part, COMPLETELY unsecured devices. There is also a growing trend, in all forms of consumer electronic devices, towards making everything as small as the laws of physics will allow. How many Über-micro cell phones have you lost? When’s the last time you set that Ipod mini down and couldn’t remember where? Now compare the size of most modern electronic devices to your USB drive, it’s virtually invisible isn’t it? So what happens when you misplace your memory key (which, incidentally, I did this morning. No idea where that thing is.) that contains all of your personal photos, hours of music, or top secret plans to take power from your boss and rule with an iron fist? Your only option, in most cases, is to hope that some Good Samaritan finds it, realizes that you’re the only geek in the place, and returns it to you. That’s a pretty scary “disaster recovery plan” if you ask me.
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