Pat Pilcher: The privacy-centric Blackphone to take on NSA?

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As would be expected after revelations of NSA snooping and surveillance, levels of interest in encryption and counter surveillance tech are at an all-time high.

The information coming to hand on a daily basis on NSA surveillance practices is now starting to be matched by growing levels of information around products and services incorporating counter-surveillance technologies.

This is precisely why the Blackphone is starting to garner a significant amount of attention - even though it hasn't even launched yet.

Set to be announced at the Mobile World Congress event next month, the Blackphone is unique because it is built ground up with an emphasis on privacy, security and encryption.

While little information is available on the actual phone, it is supposedly a well specc'd piece of hardware, sporting a muscular CPU, and an unlocked cellular module.

Crypto and security are baked into the handset at a software and hardware level by the Geekphone, who says an application suite called "PrivatOS" will allow users to make voice calls and use data securely through an anonymous VPN provided by Silent Circle who are one of the co-founders of the Blackphone project.

The rise of hardware such as the Blackphone also highlights one of the key ironies of the surveillance age.

As we trade an ever increasing amount of privacy to technology, a growing number are going to greater lengths to secure their data and online activities, making it increasingly difficult for agencies such as the NSA to monitor them. This in turn arguably leads to more intrusive surveillance measures being put in place. The big question is, where will all this crazy spy vs. spy stuff end?

- NZ Herald

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