Like the idea of using a pocket-sized computer to make calls, send messages, surf the web, and smash birds into pigs… but don’t like the idea of government agencies snooping on your communications?

Blackphone is a smartphone designed to put privacy and security front and center. First introduced in January, the Blackphone is now available for pre-order for $629. It’s expected to ship in June.

Blackphone

The phone runs an Android-based operating system called PrivatOS. It’s loaded with extras including a firewall, remote wipe capabilities, and custom apps developed by the folks at Silent Circle, including Silent Phone, Silent Text, and Silent Contacts.

Those apps encrypt your communications and route voice calls, for instance, over a peer-to-peer Voice over IP network to make your calls harder to track.

Want a similar level of security, but don’t want to buy a new phone? Silent Circle also offers Phone, Text, and Contacts apps for Android and iOS. The apps are free, but you’ll need to sign up for a subscription to use them. Prices run about $10 per month or $100 per year.

A 2-year subscription comes with the Blackphone.

There’s a catch: if you want to place an encrypted call or send an encrypted message, the person you’re contacting will also need to be using Silent Circle’s services. So when you buy a Blackphone, you’ll get codes for 1-year subscriptions which you can provide to up to 3 contacts. Users who want to keep in touch with their paranoid friends after the free subscription period is up will need to pony up some cash.

While the phone is at least partially marketed toward folks who are concerned about recent revelations of government spying, the makers of Blackphone are also positioning it as a potential device for enterprise or even government customers looking for a secure communications solution.

As for the Blackphone itself, the hardware’s about what you’d expect for a decent Android device. It features a 4.7 inch IPS HD display, a 2 GHz NVIDIA Tegra 4i quad-core processor, 2GB 1GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, LTE and HSPA+, 802.11n WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0.

It supports GPS (which I suppose you could turn off when you’re on the run from the law), and has front and rear cameras.

The hardware comes courtesy of Spanish phone maker Geeksphone, while Silent Circle is responsible for the PrivatOS software.

via The Verge

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11 replies on “$629 Blackphone aims to hide you from the NSA”

  1. Good luck getting the phone from Geeksphone in a reasonable timeframe. I remember my experience trying to get the Peak from them – your subscription may expire before you get it.

  2. Did you know that the US Postal Service knows exactly where you live?

      1. And it seems e-bay always knows when I stop and want to buy something…. Spooky…

  3. Since it has a GPS chip in it, the NSA knows where you are at all times, unless you take the battery out.

    1. For years now, Google and others triangulate your location with your cell tower signal. If you think turning GPS off makes a difference, you are going to be surprised.

      Years ago I had a Blackberry with google maps but no gps sensor, and it had my location anywhere from 1000 feet to a mile. Not great but at the time it was useful to me.

  4. I feel really bad for someone who really feels the need to have a specific cellphone to “stop to nsa”. The only people who really do need it are most likely criminals

      1. the people who buy this and pay the “monthly fee” because they think the NSA is documenting their boring lives are the gullible ones.

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