Blackphone: A Smartphone That Puts Privacy First

A project by Geeksphone and Silent Circle will run a security-oriented Android build called PrivatOS.

With privacy in the forefront of consumers' minds, two companies announced Wednesday they will be teaming up to create "the world's first smartphone to put privacy and control ahead of everything else." The Blackphone, as it's called, will run off a security-oriented Android build called PrivatOS that's designed to give users more privacy and control.

Madrid-based Geeksphone, which developed the first Firefox OS developer handsets, will work with Washington, D.C.-based Silent Circle to build Blackphone, based in Switzerland. Phil Zimmermann serves as president of Silent Circle and is the creator of PGP, a data encryption and decryption program used in communication. His work in cryptography landed him on the Internet Hall of Fame.

"The No. 1 priority in creating Blackphone is to uphold the objectives of privacy," Zimmermann said in the video above introducing the smartphone. "It's not to serve some other business model of monetizing customer data."

Blackphone's website says the device will include tools to give users ownership of their digital footprint and presence while allowing them to securely make phone and video calls, send text messages, transfer and store files, and browse the web. Users can also anonymize traffic with a VPN. Blackphone will be available for preorder Feb. 24 at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

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