Print 13 comment(s) - last by SuckRaven.. on Jul 1 at 12:51 PM

SGP Technologies claims that the Blackphone is the "world's first privacy-optimized smartphone"

We first brought you word of the Android-based Blackphone back in mid-January, and this week the smartphone is finally shipping to consumers. The Blackphone is the brainchild of SGP Technologies — a joint venture between Silent Circle and Geeksphone — and uses a customized version of Android 4.4 KitKat, which it calls PrivatOS.
SGP says that the Blackphone is “built from the ground up to maximize user privacy” and includes such features as private/encrypted cloud storage, encrypted voice/video calls and text messaging, Wi-Fi security settings which prevent hotspots from gleaning connection history and patterns of activity, remote wipe, and private web browsing.
"Blackphone's arrival puts mobile privacy directly in the hands of professionals and consumers everywhere,” said SGP Technologies CEO Toby Weir-Jones. In a world where devices and apps increasingly offer features only in return for users' personal or sensitive information, the pent-up demand for Blackphone shows there is strong, international demand for our brand's devices and services that stand apart by placing privacy before all else."

The Blackphone comes equipped with a 4.7” 720p IPS display, 2GHz, quad-core NVIDIA Tegra 4i processor with 1GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage, microSD slot, Bluetooth 4.0, 802.11n, LTE connectivity, 8MP rear camera, 1.3MP front-facing camera, and a 2000 mAh battery.
The Blackphone is currently shipping to customers who already pre-ordered the $629 device. The company’s web store will re-open on July 14 to accept new orders for the smartphone.

Sources: SGP Technologies [1], [2]

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Shifting Private Data Around
By deltaend on 6/30/2014 9:10:51 AM , Rating: 3
Many of these services which are shipping with this phone simply shift the location of your private data from the Telcom to the service provider. For example, encrypted phone calls are a great idea, but the service that provides the encrypted phone calls has just as much access to the data as your Telcom did. Additionally, unless the person at the other end of your phone call also has the ability to receive encrypted calls, the encryption might as well not be taking place at all since it be unencrypted on the far end. Although this is a great start towards privacy, it hardly constitutes as much security as people may believe that it does.

RE: Shifting Private Data Around
By Reclaimer77 on 6/30/2014 9:25:51 AM , Rating: 2
Additionally, unless the person at the other end of your phone call also has the ability to receive encrypted calls


I would imagine that's the point of this phone. For Government agencies and private companies to issue to employees so that both ends would be encrypted.

By CyberGirl212 on 7/1/2014 12:50:36 PM , Rating: 2
Bottom line, unless the user (or enterprise) has the encryption keys and their own server, there's still high risk for man in the middle attacks or third party data collection.
There's only one phone currently in the marketplace that puts the enterprise in control of the servers -- FortressFone.
Additionally, Blackphone offers PGP encryption - not AES 256 Enhanced encryption, like FortressFone. It also does not have a hardened OS or meet the NSA Mobility Standard, for that matter.

RE: Shifting Private Data Around
By futrtrubl on 6/30/2014 11:04:10 AM , Rating: 2
but the service that provides the encrypted phone calls has just as much access to the data as your Telcom did

I don't see how. If the encryption happens in phone, and it would have to be, and it's sent point to point then the only parties with access to the unencrypted data would be you and the person you are talking to.

By deltaend on 6/30/2014 11:30:12 AM , Rating: 2
If it is encrypted, it isn't directly encrypted between the two devices, it is both devices encrypted to a sip server or something similar. That means that the sip server has access to the unencrypted call and the metadata.

Better not use Google services...
By tayb on 6/30/2014 10:12:39 AM , Rating: 4
The only way to make Android "secure" is to stop using Google services.

By SuckRaven on 7/1/2014 12:51:05 PM , Rating: 2
Yepp, pretty much agree. Have something truly important or "secret" to tell someone ? Don't do it over a device that ANYONE else made. Which is every device. So, do it the old fashioned way, and whisper it into their ear inside of a Faraday cage. =)

sounds useless
By Murloc on 6/30/2014 9:15:12 AM , Rating: 2
if you're going to use a google service or any other app that gathers your data, it's useless.
If the person you are on the phone with can't receive encrypted calls, they can read the data on his end.

By saarek on 6/30/2014 9:29:28 AM , Rating: 2
Claiming to have a a secure Android phone is like claiming a bucket that has loads of holes in it that has been patched up with sellotape is going to work......

By GulWestfale on 6/30/2014 9:53:38 AM , Rating: 2
full specs, from the company website:


Screen Size: 4.7” (1280 * 720)
Display Technology: 4.7" IPS HD
Technology: Capacitive >4 point multi-touch


Sensor size main camera 8 MP AF
Type of camera flash: Flash LED
Front camera 5MP FF


Single micro-SIM slot
Bluetooth Class 4.0 LE
Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n
Micro USB
3.5mm audio jack


Battery 2000mAh


Approximately 141 x 69 x 9 mm (rear camera housing - additional 2 mm)


Processor: Quad-core 2GHz System on Chip (SoC)
Platform: NVIDIA Tegra 4i


16GB on-board storage
Single microSD slot

Data Network

North America (Region2)
GSM: 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 MHz
HSPA+/WCDMA: 850 / 1700 / 1900 / 2100 MHz (42 Mbps)
LTE FDD bands: 4/7/17 * (Cat. 3 100 Mbps)

Rest Of World (Region1)
GSM: 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 MHz
HSPA+/WCDMA: 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100 MHz (42 Mbps)
LTE FDD bands 3/7/20 * (Cat. 3 100 Mbps)

* LTE Cat. 4 (150 Mbps) under development


Gravity sensor, light sensor, proximity sensor, magnetic sensor


Approximately 119 grams or 4.2 ounces

and on a side note... silent circle is a UK/US company, therefore it has to obey UK/US laws... so this is about as secure as all other cellphones... that is to say, really not at all.

Exclusive review
By momorere on 6/30/2014 1:40:55 PM , Rating: 2
Arstechnica has an exclusive review up. It really is secure but lacking in raw speed.

By BRB29 on 6/30/2014 8:57:04 AM , Rating: 1
"built from the ground up..."

Ok buddy, it's pretty much just from the custom version of Android. The hardware looks like the same as a Samsung Galaxy Nexus with the Tegra 2, 720p screen and 4.7"

Seems lows on some specs...
By Marlin1975 on 6/30/2014 8:58:42 AM , Rating: 1
Specs seem a little low like memory is only 1gig. But the Tegra 4i only suppots single channel memory, no dual channel support, so 2gig may not help much.

I wonder if it would have been better to build the custom software and sell that vs trying to support the hardware? Or do they think the problem was the hardware as much or more so than the software?

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