The new "Blackphone" smartphone may have only debuted at last week's Mobile World Congress but concerns are already being raised that it will be targeted by hackers and the NSA.
Spanish start-up Geeksphone, Silent Circle and Pretty Good Privacy announced the Blackphone at the technology exhibition in Barcelona last week, with STMicro later demonstrating its own security-focused smartphone, the Boeing Black.
The most interesting device shown at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona this week was the secure Blackphone developed by Silent Circle and Geeksphone.
The Blackphone features anonymous search, automatic disabling of non-trusted WiFi hotspots, and private texting, calling and file transfer capabilities. It's available to the general public, and bundles additional security features that apparently go beyond the basic messaging security provided by Blackberry to enterprise customers in its Blackberry Messaging (BBM) service.
When former government contractor Edward Snowden revealed that the NSA was conducting digital surveillance on a massive scale, many feared for the future of cloud computing. The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation estimated that Snowden’s revelations could cost U.S. cloud companies $22 billion to $35 billion in foreign business over the next three years, and countless pundits predicted that American businesses would flee the cloud as well.
Richard Clarke, chairman and CEO of Good Harbor and a member of Obama's review group on intelligence and communications technology, kicked off the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) Summit 2014 at the RSA Conference by discussing his observations about the NSA surveillance controversy.
Clarke ultimately took a positive stance regarding the NSA, explaining that the organization has been responsible for gathering intelligence on countries that have weapons of mass destruction, as well as for uprooting drug cartels and deterring various types of terrorist threats.
A former White House security advisor has suggested that you, dear reader, are naive if you think hosting data outside of the US will protect a business from the NSA.
"NSA and any other world-class intelligence agency can hack into databases even if they not in the US," said former White House security advisor Richard Clarke in a speech at the Cloud Security Alliance summit in San Francisco on Monday. "Non-US companies are using NSA revelations as a marketing tool."