Mobile security has certainly garnered a lot of attention since the NSA debacle all those months ago, and we’ve already seen that a few companies are seizing the initiative and introducing smartphones with enhanced privacy capabilities.
FreedomPop is latest company to rally to the cause, the company is working on a Privacy Phone, which is essentially a modified Samsung Galaxy S2 smartphone that will offer 128-bit encryption for both voice communication and text messages. Web and other application data traffic will be also encrypted, and sent through a virtual private network to ensure maximum security.
“In light of recent violations in consumer’s privacy across social networks and mobile devices, privacy is becoming increasingly important to many Americans and we all have a right to communicate anonymously,” FreedomPop COO Steven Sesar
The Galaxy S2’s hardware may be a little dated, but it will come with a tweaked version of Android Jelly Bean and is also capable of receiving further updates, although the operating system itself isn’t receiving the same degree of customisation and protect offered by the likes of Silent Circle. It also comes with some of FreedomPop’s own software features, including the ability to remotely wipe a lost phone. Using older Galaxy S2 hardware should also help to keep the cost of the handset to a minimum, whilst still offering sufficient power for a decent smartphone experience. FreedomPop will sell the Privacy Phone for $189, including three months of unlimited voice, texting and 500MB of monthly data. After the first three months are up, the plan will cost just $10 per month.
“Large carriers don’t have the flexibility, desire or creativity to invest in privacy.”
As well as all of the above, FreedomPop also supports the fiat currency sceptic’s favourite alternative payment option – Bitcoin. Although we’ll have to see how willing people are to continue to trade in the crypto-currency, given the recent demise of the Mt Gox exchange.
FreedomPop’s handset joins the likes of Silent Circle’s privacy focused Blackphone and the secret agent inspired Boeing Black self-destructing smartphone. There’s clearly a growing trend in privacy orientated mobile products, and with the pricing becoming more and more competitive, it will be interesting to see if larger developers start paying more attention to privacy in the future.