Blackphone: a privacy-conscious phone that actually works

The Blackphone is a secure mobile phone whose operating system is based on Android, designed to minimize the amount of data you leak as you move through the world through a combination of encryption and systems design that takes your privacy as its first priority.

Ars Technica's Sean Gallagher reviewed a pre-production version of the phone, and found that while it is a little underpowered on the hardware side, and required some getting used to, it nevertheless accomplished something fairly remarkable: a mobile experience that lets you stay in touch and find things, people and places, without giving up every intimate secret of your life to anyone who can be bothered to look for it.

We found that Blackphone lives up to its privacy hype. During our testing in a number of scenarios, there was little if any data leakage that would give any third-party observer anything usable in terms of private information.

As far as its functionality as a consumer device goes, Blackphone still has a few rough edges. We were working with “release candidate” versions of the phone’s operating system and applications, so it would be unfair to judge their stability too harshly. But since the Google ecosystem of applications (Chrome, Google Play, and other Google-branded features) was carved from PrivatOS, a privacy-focused fork of KitKat, it may feel like a step backward for some Android users—and a breath of fresh air for others.

Exclusive: A review of the Blackphone, the Android for the paranoid [Sean Gallagher/Ars Technica]