NSA, White House Keen on Using “Hardened” Android Kernel
It will probably not be long before U.S. soldiers can use Android smartphones for military operations. Thanks to a project that resulted in a “hardened” kernel of the Android 3.0 platform, the military will soon be able to provide secure Android-based smartphones and tablets to combat troops. The White House is following the project closely, too.
A research team from Google, George Mason University, and the National Security Agency contributed to the “hardened” Android 3.0 kernel, which is now in the final leg of being certified for military use, according to a report from Defense Systems.
The White House is also interested in this great new development. According to Michael McCarthy, operations director of the Mission Command Complex of the army’s Brigade Modernization Command, the White House also saw opportunity for the “hardened” Android 3.0 kernel’s use in a secure national wireless network for first responders.
The incumbent administration is also interested in the secure kernel as the government contemplates plans to shift the executive branch to Android-based smartphones. “The new security kernel can be secured at a higher clearance level than BlackBerry devices,” which the executive branch currently uses, said McCarthy.
McCarthy explained that one of the problems with the Army smartphones is that of hardware and software accreditation, which is required if a smartphone is meant to be used on military and classified networks. Thanks to efforts by the National Security Agency, the Android kernel’s accreditation and testing is now expedited and is expected to get first-level security clearance by middle of October.
This recent development is probably exciting for Army troops who will soon move from radio-based communication systems to smartphones that run a secure and “hardened” version of Android.
But, of course, besides military and government use, Google’s Android operating system is spreading like wildfire around the globe. It’s in smartphones, tablets, portable media players, cars, televisions, and other devices. Where could the Android operating system be used next? Maybe a humanoid robot? What could be next?
Image credit: Declan Jewell (Flickr)