Blackphone announces privacy-oriented app store

Blackphone, the Swiss-based, secure hardware/OS mobile phone from PGP inventor Phil Zimmerman has announced that it will provide a store with privacy-oriented apps that are sandboxed to minimize data-misuse.

The Blackphone app store will be available in January and will monitor apps to make sure they do not snoop on users.

"We'll have a few degrees of vetting," Blackphone chief executive Toby Weir-Jones told the Guardian. "We'll validate that the apps will do what they intend – call it the Apple model. If you have an app to manage your social media accounts and it wanted access to your microphone and your camera we might ask why and get on a first screening."

Several apps have been caught spying on users through leaky permissions systems, accessing unconnected features of smartphones, including an Android torch app that silently sent user location and device data to advertisers, which sparked and investigation and subsequent fine from the US data privacy regulator.

Blackphone launching world's first privacy-focused app store [Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian]