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posted by mattie_p on Monday February 24 2014, @07:29PM   Printer-friendly
from the security-will-cost-you dept.

fliptop writes:

"Promising that orders will start shipping in June, Silent Circle has announced the Blackphone is ready for pre-orders. (Domain registered in Switzerland)

Touted as 'The high-end smartphone which puts privacy and security ahead of everything else' the Blackphone has a 4.7" screen, 2GHz quad-core CPU and 16GB storage. It also includes several Silent Circle apps.

The Blackphone makes use of a customized version of Android called PrivatOS, is fully unlocked, and the encryption can be used on any compatible network. Purchase includes a 1-year subscription to the apps; after that it's $10 a month (in addition to your carrier's charges).

In order to take advantage of the encryption, the other person you're communicating with has to have their own Blackphone or use Silent Circle apps on their Android or iOS phone."

Related Stories

Silent Circle Encrypted Phone App Cleared for U.S. Gov't Use 42 comments

The same government that is fighting against the use of encryption by its citizens has approved use of Silent Circle's app, which allows users to make end-to-end encrypted phone calls from iPhones, iPads, and Android devices:

The certification follows other major software makers, including BlackBerry and Apple, whose software is also allowed to be used for low-level secure work.

[...] The certification may benefit users in government, but it's the same administration that's spent the past year fighting Silicon Valley against encryption.

Some have called for backdoors to be put in encryption, despite calls from the security and academic community saying it would defeat the very point of scrambled data. Others have called on greater cooperation between the US government and tech companies.

Irony much?

Related: Blackphone V2
Security-Conscious Blackphone Found to Have Basic SMS Vulnerability
Silent Circle Blackphone - Out in June for $630 US


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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by mattie_p on Monday February 24 2014, @07:30PM

    by mattie_p (13) on Monday February 24 2014, @07:30PM (#6089) Journal

    I thought this was interesting enough to post as an article, but I'm concerned it might be considered a "soylvertisement." Please keep your opinions on that topic to this particular thread. Thanks

    ~mattie_p

    • (Score: 5, Interesting) by dmc on Monday February 24 2014, @07:37PM

      by dmc (188) on Monday February 24 2014, @07:37PM (#6095)

      I would consider it less of a Soylvertisement if the editors had done some reseach and tried to point out the best purely FOSS alternative groups attempting the same basic level of security.

      • (Score: 5, Insightful) by melikamp on Monday February 24 2014, @08:00PM

        by melikamp (1886) on Monday February 24 2014, @08:00PM (#6114) Journal

        purely FOSS alternative groups attempting the same basic level of security

        A purely FOSS alternative would in fact offer security and privacy. This phone offers neither, and the sales pitch is a bold-faced lie. From their site:

        allows users to regain control over their communications activities

        With apps available by subscription, I am assuming they are closed-source. No mentioning is made of OS components being FOSS, so I am assuming the OS and the kernel also contain binary blobs, just as they do in every commercially available android-based phone. Ergo, all claims about security and privacy are pure bullshit. And with the price tag like that, this is a phone made especially for suckers.

        • (Score: 5, Informative) by hemocyanin on Monday February 24 2014, @08:06PM

          by hemocyanin (186) on Monday February 24 2014, @08:06PM (#6119)

          RedPhone: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org. thoughtcrime.redphone&hl=en [google.com]
          TextSecure: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org. thoughtcrime.securesms&hl=en [google.com]

          both by: https://whispersystems.org/ [whispersystems.org]
          both open source, with a button to download the source right under the the "get the app" buttons.

          One thing about RedPhone -- after about 10 minutes you need to wear heat resistant mittens to hold your phone. But I love TextSexure.

          • (Score: 5, Informative) by melikamp on Monday February 24 2014, @08:30PM

            by melikamp (1886) on Monday February 24 2014, @08:30PM (#6143) Journal

            This is all fine and dandy, but it still runs on top of your stock Android, no? I am not aware of a single Android platform that does not contain binary blobs in the kernel. In particular, the wireless adapter and the power management is powered by blobs. The part that authenticates your phone to the network is also a blob. If it wasn't, you'd be able to spoof your SIM ID, which you absolutely cannot on any commercially sold phone.

            The only correct effort towards securing an Android phone I am aware of is the Replicant, and I don't think it's usable yet [replicant.us].

            • (Score: 5, Insightful) by hemocyanin on Monday February 24 2014, @09:15PM

              by hemocyanin (186) on Monday February 24 2014, @09:15PM (#6188)

              I completely agree. Here's the "but" -- why make it any easier for the spies? A vulnerability in one of the binary blobs would probably be of a type that gives the evildoer root, and they could then get whatever. To get there, they have to target you in some way, or hope you get hit with some bit of malware, and write tools (which will need updating as systems and programs change) that will convert your keystrokes to sendable text, get the content of your received messages and resend them, etc. etc. None of that is impossible or even unlikely, but it is a whole lot more effort than simply putting a splitter on a backbone and copying every bit of plain text as it passes -- no need to worry about patches closing old vulnerabilities, or app updates breaking your tools, or any other myriad issues.

              So, while encrypting the data may not be foolproof, it does increase the resources the NSA must expend to get a bunch of cat pics, in which case, conservation of those resources may well seem wise, and encourage them to do their actual job, which is monitoring overseas communications.

          • (Score: 2, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 25 2014, @02:57AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 25 2014, @02:57AM (#6352)

            > But I love TextSexure.

            And now we know what you use it for. :)

            • (Score: 2) by hemocyanin on Tuesday February 25 2014, @04:41AM

              by hemocyanin (186) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @04:41AM (#6400)

              I've had to reread this several times to see my typo. I was about to write a "I don't get it" note. What a classic Freudian slip that!

      • (Score: 1) by r00t on Monday February 24 2014, @08:30PM

        by r00t (1349) on Monday February 24 2014, @08:30PM (#6144)

        RE: I would consider it less of a Soylvertisement

        I like that the editor had the forethought to take the time and point that out in the summary... so there would be no mistaking it for advertising.

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by fliptop on Monday February 24 2014, @07:39PM

      by fliptop (1666) on Monday February 24 2014, @07:39PM (#6096) Journal

      I'm concerned it might be considered a "soylvertisement."

      I read about the Blackphone on zdnet this morning and thought the convergence of tech, privacy, hardware and mobile made it newsworthy. I am not associated w/ any of the companies mentioned in TFO.

      --
      It's crackers to slip a rozzer the dropsy in snide.
    • (Score: 5, Informative) by takyon on Monday February 24 2014, @07:42PM

      by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Monday February 24 2014, @07:42PM (#6097) Journal

      Silent Circle is pretty heavily involved in the NSA aftermath and Lavabit is working with them on Dark Mail, so it's not that bad. Plus other tech sites are running tons of more mundane phone announcements today, like the Galaxy S5, Intel Atom, Qualcomm Snapdragon, PowerVR, etc.

      --
      [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
      • (Score: 2) by mrbluze on Tuesday February 25 2014, @08:42AM

        by mrbluze (49) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @08:42AM (#6488) Journal

        If it's commercial, how can you trust it?

        --
        Do it yourself, 'cause no one else will do it yourself.
    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by VLM on Monday February 24 2014, @08:03PM

      by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Monday February 24 2014, @08:03PM (#6116)

      What I didn't like about "soylvertisements" on the legacy site was the posting schedule. So you signed an advertising contract, fine, but do you have to post a weekly story every single week on Monday afternoons at 2:30pm eastern? Every week? Always at 2:30pm? Even if you had nothing to say about the topic that week because absolutely nothing happened in the last week? Oh, don't worry, we'll find something to comment on in that situation, I assure you the marketing dept won't find our comments amusing at all.

      Another thing is I can appreciate honesty. On HN you'll have the CTO participate in a discussion on HN under his name about how he stole someone else's tired marketing idea, wrapped a CRUD app in bootstrap, and now wants one billlllion dollars for his effort, because he's, you know, entitled to it. So if someone offered you blackjack and hookers to post this, just admit it and I think most people would be totally OK with it. Just be honest about it.

      • (Score: 1) by hankwang on Monday February 24 2014, @08:32PM

        by hankwang (100) on Monday February 24 2014, @08:32PM (#6145) Homepage

        ... So you signed an advertising contract, fine, but do you have to post a weekly story every single week on Monday afternoons at 2:30pm eastern? Every week? Always at 2:30pm?

        Huh? I never noticed such a pattern. Which subjects were following such a pattern? Only Bitcoin I recall coming back way too often, but that doesn't sound like an organization that would have an advertisement budget.

        On HN you'll have the CTO participate in a discussion on HN under his name about (...)

        Would you mind explaining what "HN" is? The usual forum sites that are referred to from here are digg, reddit, and The Other Site AKA Slashdot. "HN" doesn't match any of them.

        • (Score: 3, Informative) by MechaStreisand on Monday February 24 2014, @09:04PM

          by MechaStreisand (1550) on Monday February 24 2014, @09:04PM (#6171)

          HN is Hacker News, at http://news.ycombinator.com/ [ycombinator.com]. There are some good discussions there, but a lot of startup idiocy as well.

        • (Score: 3, Interesting) by VLM on Monday February 24 2014, @09:27PM

          by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Monday February 24 2014, @09:27PM (#6200)

          One historical example was you could set your clock by the e-ink stories, including adjustment for daylight savings time.

          Going back a long time, second life is/was another offender. If I recall correctly it was every Tuesday afternoon for them, although I may not recall correctly. May have been Wednesday.

          I suppose its nearly impossible to prove there was or was not an advertising contract, vs perhaps one of the editors just had a huge mancrush on a specific technological story such that he just had to get it out of his system every single week right after the staff meeting or whatever.

          Original point still stands. One ad? OK you gotta pay the bills, I can respect that. One ad at X o'clock on Y day of the week, every week, for six months? Um, a little annoying.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by DarkMorph on Monday February 24 2014, @09:06PM

      by DarkMorph (674) on Monday February 24 2014, @09:06PM (#6176)
      Understandably this can be construed as an advertisement, but then again, the citation of the release of any new hardware product can double as an advertisement for itself and its manufacturer. No, this is fine; this is a welcomed sort of news. In particular I am interested in the evolving landscape of cell phone tech in both hardware and software, given that I have not bought a phone in years and all the awareness of spying and tracking making the thought of purchasing another dreadful. I was thinking of filing an "Ask Soylent" article related to this topic, but first I will need to do some research, with the Blackphone being one of the areas of interest.
    • (Score: 3, Funny) by Aighearach on Monday February 24 2014, @09:25PM

      by Aighearach (2621) on Monday February 24 2014, @09:25PM (#6199)

      Soyledtisement

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by jcd on Tuesday February 25 2014, @06:54AM

      by jcd (883) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @06:54AM (#6440)

      I really don't consider news of a new product to be an advert. We're supposedly geeks here, which means we keep track of that sort of thing and it is interesting/important news to us. It's when the adverts keep coming, and they're blindly laudatory that they become a problem.

      --
      "What good's an honest soldier if he can be ordered to behave like a terrorist?"
    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Common Joe on Wednesday February 26 2014, @05:39AM

      by Common Joe (33) <reversethis-{moc ... 1010.eoj.nommoc}> on Wednesday February 26 2014, @05:39AM (#7132) Journal

      I think you're right that this could be a "Soylvertisement" and I think you're right to be very cautious about it.

      With that said, I don't mind Soylvertisements (whether paid for or not) as long as it is clearly pointed out as such or marked as a Soylvertisement kind of story. (I'm sure others will disagree and I think they should post their rebuttals so you can get a feel for community consensus.) The problem with Slashdot as that they simply posted it as a regular story and I do not tolerate that kind of crap. I want the good stuff up front and the time wasters / advertisements in back and out of the way.

      Maybe to put it more clearly: The good stuff should always take front and center. If it is an advertisement of some sort, mark it very clearly as such. If it is simply an ad or a time waster, mark it as such and put it in the back. Yes, despite the ad, there can be something cool or interesting or technical about it. (Often, it's just a lot of hype -- oftentime, unwarranted hype and it should not be posted.)

      I once tried to post a brief story in Slashdot about a small video I saw. I hate videos but I thought this [slashdot.org] was rather cool. I tried to mark it in my write up as an ad for Western Digital and even where to go in the video to bypass the ad if so desired. (The entire video was only 45 seconds.) What made it cool was the F1 car they built out of hard drive parts. I thought it was really neat looking. (I wished I could have found out more information. I certainly wasn't paid for it.)

      Others disagreed that it was Slashdot worthy and it never made front page. Is it Soylent News worthy? Not really, but I still think others would find it cool. Maybe in the future, there is a place where things like this can go so others who are not into Soylvertisements or time wasters like this can go if they have time to burn.

  • (Score: 5, Funny) by Buck Feta on Monday February 24 2014, @07:34PM

    by Buck Feta (958) on Monday February 24 2014, @07:34PM (#6092) Journal

    It looks like their website has gone soylent.

    --
    - fractious political commentary goes here -
    • (Score: 3, Funny) by Drew617 on Monday February 24 2014, @07:45PM

      by Drew617 (1876) on Monday February 24 2014, @07:45PM (#6100)

      Slash... er...

      Soylented!

      • (Score: 4, Funny) by randmcnatt on Monday February 24 2014, @08:52PM

        by randmcnatt (671) Subscriber Badge on Monday February 24 2014, @08:52PM (#6163)

        SoylentNews eats websites.

        --
        The Wright brothers were not the first to fly: they were the first to land.
      • (Score: 5, Informative) by mindriot on Monday February 24 2014, @09:02PM

        by mindriot (928) on Monday February 24 2014, @09:02PM (#6169)
        I thought we already agreed on "soyled"? :)
        --
        soylent_uid=$(echo $slash_uid|cut -c1,3,5)
  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by marcello_dl on Monday February 24 2014, @07:46PM

    by marcello_dl (2685) on Monday February 24 2014, @07:46PM (#6102)

    Never mind the problem of backdoors on chips, but IIRC, no matter how secure the OS is, many smartphones have the modem able to access fully the phone's RAM, which makes spying on the device still possible, by powerful parties, even with a secure OS installed.

    BTW a hackable modem chip (was it possible with the n900?) makes for a very versatile item.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by tibman on Monday February 24 2014, @08:24PM

      by tibman (134) Subscriber Badge on Monday February 24 2014, @08:24PM (#6135)

      I remember reading that the Neo900 was being designed to treat the modem as a possible hostile chip. Complete separation of the modem from all resources. Check it out: http://neo900.org/faq#privacy [neo900.org]

      --
      SN won't survive on lurkers alone. Write comments.
    • (Score: 5, Interesting) by bd on Monday February 24 2014, @09:05PM

      by bd (2773) on Monday February 24 2014, @09:05PM (#6173)

      But why go to the hassle of hacking into the modem if you are one of those powerful parties that have seen a lot of attention lately?

      Two parts of their terms of service that disqualify them in my view:

      Our customers are located all around the world, but we are a Delaware company, so to make things simple, this Agreement is governed by and enforced according to the laws of the State of Delaware

      in combination with:

      However, if you decide to do bad things with your Silent Circle services (e.g., commit a crime), there is a chance that law enforcement officials may come to us with a subpoena, and we will meet our obligations as required by applicable law.

      How is this anything other than the next lavabit? They just have one big expensive hardware dongle for their encrypted messaging app.

  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by mcgrew on Monday February 24 2014, @07:49PM

    by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Monday February 24 2014, @07:49PM (#6103) Homepage Journal

    Too big and too expensive. I absolutely HATE how phones are getting bigger and bigger, mine's four inches and barely fits in my pocket. And $600 for something breakable, stealable and salable you carry around in your pocket? That's just insane unless you can afford to throw half a C-not in the trash.

    How about making one that will fit in a pocket, is sturdy, and most of all is cheap, not much more than a hundred bucks (which I have now and am happy with).

    Why does everybody think that just because I'm a nerd, I must be Bill Gates? Throw out a month's rent for a phone??? That's just nuts.

    --
    Free Martian whores! [mcgrewbooks.com]
    • (Score: 3, Funny) by dilbert on Monday February 24 2014, @07:54PM

      by dilbert (444) on Monday February 24 2014, @07:54PM (#6109)

      That's just insane unless you can afford to throw half a C-not in the trash.

      I believe "C-not" is short for C-note, which is short for Century Note, which is usually interpreted to mean 100 USD. Perhaps you meant "half a grand"?

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by bart9h on Monday February 24 2014, @07:57PM

      by bart9h (767) on Monday February 24 2014, @07:57PM (#6110)

      Amen.

      Unfortunately, there are very few options of small high-end phones out there.
      Galaxy S3 Mini seems like the best one that is not over 4".

      I just want <=4" amoled screen, >200ppi, >1GB RAM. Is it too hard?

      • (Score: 2) by hemocyanin on Monday February 24 2014, @08:11PM

        by hemocyanin (186) on Monday February 24 2014, @08:11PM (#6124)

        Don't forget removable battery.

        I have an HTC Amaze, and I'd love to get their new phone ("one") -- but I won't because the battery isn't easily removable. And I say that not because I want to pull a Reiser -- but because I like having two batteries.

        • (Score: 2) by mcgrew on Monday February 24 2014, @08:49PM

          by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Monday February 24 2014, @08:49PM (#6162) Homepage Journal

          Indeed, if iPhones were ten bucks apiece I'd still not want one for just that reason. I will NOT have a bettery-operated device with a hard to replace battery, or worse, an Apple with its "no user servicable parts" and the battery glued in.

          --
          Free Martian whores! [mcgrewbooks.com]
      • (Score: 1) by keplr on Monday February 24 2014, @08:43PM

        by keplr (2104) on Monday February 24 2014, @08:43PM (#6152) Journal

        Apparently it is too hard. The problems are probably not technical, however. It's an issue of market demand (heavily influenced by marketing, not what is really best for people) and economics. The type of phone with the highest margins will be the most heavily marketed, which drives demand. People who are more sensible and less swayed by advertising suffer a lack of options.

        --
        I don't respond to ACs.
    • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 24 2014, @08:04PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 24 2014, @08:04PM (#6118)

      I absolutely HATE how phones are getting bigger and bigger

      You sound like you have small hands. Are you a carnie?

    • (Score: 2, Informative) by dbot on Monday February 24 2014, @08:09PM

      by dbot (1811) on Monday February 24 2014, @08:09PM (#6122) Journal

      Firefox OS [ebay.com]

      • (Score: 1) by petecox on Monday February 24 2014, @11:24PM

        by petecox (3228) on Monday February 24 2014, @11:24PM (#6276)

        Blackphone is a collaboration with Geeksphone, who also make the 'Revolution' handset that supports both Android and FFOS

    • (Score: 2) by Open4D on Monday February 24 2014, @08:11PM

      by Open4D (371) Subscriber Badge on Monday February 24 2014, @08:11PM (#6125) Journal

      I absolutely HATE how phones are getting bigger and bigger, mine's four inches and barely fits in my pocket.

      Get bigger pockets.

      I know that sounds curt, but my 4" phone fits in my trouser pockets and even my shirt pocket. I've actually decided that if anything my next phone should be a bit bigger, and therefore I need to take that into account when I'm buying clothes.

      Of course, this assumes that a 4" phone is suitable for you in other ways - like the size of the palm of your hand.

       

      ... not much more than a hundred bucks (which I have now and am happy with).

      Was that price part of a contract? Is it a fair comparison with the price quoted for this device?

      • (Score: 2) by mcgrew on Monday February 24 2014, @08:47PM

        by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Monday February 24 2014, @08:47PM (#6159) Homepage Journal

        No contract, list price for the phone was $125 (Kyocera Edge). Flat $40 per month, no limits, data caps, or restrictions. I'm happy with them! And if I break the phone, meh, it's only a hundred bucks. If it were an iPhone and I broke it I'd freak out.

        --
        Free Martian whores! [mcgrewbooks.com]
      • (Score: 1) by cykros on Tuesday February 25 2014, @02:47AM

        by cykros (989) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @02:47AM (#6347)

        I carry a 7" tablet, with a bluetooth keyboard case, in my cargo pockets. If your tech doesn't fit in your clothes, your clothes are obsolete.

        • (Score: 1) by kru on Tuesday February 25 2014, @02:27PM

          by kru (795) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @02:27PM (#6619)
          Only a 7" tablet? Pffft. [geekologie.com]
    • (Score: 1) by TheGratefulNet on Monday February 24 2014, @08:16PM

      by TheGratefulNet (659) on Monday February 24 2014, @08:16PM (#6128)

      I'd LOVE to pay the rent that you pay, it seems.

      in the bay area, it would take well over 5 or even 10 phones worth of cost to equal typical rent prices here.

      --
      "It is now safe to switch off your computer."
      • (Score: 2) by mcgrew on Monday February 24 2014, @08:43PM

        by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Monday February 24 2014, @08:43PM (#6153) Homepage Journal

        Well, everything is crazy high priced there. Same with NYC and a few other areas. Here, I can live well on a median income here. I'll probably move in a year or two, now that I'm retiring, it's even cheaper in some little towns.

        --
        Free Martian whores! [mcgrewbooks.com]
    • (Score: 1) by corey on Tuesday February 25 2014, @01:29AM

      by corey (2202) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @01:29AM (#6318)

      I agree on most fronts but I struggle to type legibly using the onscreen keyboard of my Galaxy Nexus. Its a big phone, I'd hate smaller onscreen keys. My fingers are thin too.

      Thankfully it has a decent spellchecker. But it works overtime on this.

      I just typed Thabkfukky instead of thankfully. Heh

      • (Score: 2) by mcgrew on Tuesday February 25 2014, @02:22PM

        by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Tuesday February 25 2014, @02:22PM (#6612) Homepage Journal

        I struggle to type on any glass, even on my daughter's tablet, so I just don't. If I want to type I wait until I have my laptop. If there's only a sentence or two I use its speech to text and avoid the typing (sometimes that can be almost as frustrating as trying to type on a phone).

        I have to say, my newer phone is a hell of a lot easier to type on than my old feature phone with its qwerty keyboard and teeny tiny keys. But I still avoid typing on it.

        --
        Free Martian whores! [mcgrewbooks.com]
        • (Score: 1) by corey on Thursday February 27 2014, @09:49PM

          by corey (2202) on Thursday February 27 2014, @09:49PM (#8130)

          I fully understand. My fingers get sore joints (the endmost joints) from typing on glass. I think its the constant minor shock of hitting/tapping something solid. That's where a keyboard doesn't have the same effect, it has shock absorption.

          Probably all just RSI or the like from years of computer use.

    • (Score: 1) by cykros on Tuesday February 25 2014, @02:45AM

      by cykros (989) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @02:45AM (#6345)

      You have a smartphone that costs only slightly more than $100? I'd be curious to hear where exactly that's coming from, unless you're not taking into account any "discounts" from the carriers who rope you into their plans. $600 is only on the moderately high side of the smartphone market...even the Nexus models are a good few hundred bucks to begin with.

      • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Appalbarry on Tuesday February 25 2014, @04:03AM

        by Appalbarry (66) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @04:03AM (#6378) Journal

        You have a smartphone that costs only slightly more than $100?

        Currently running a Samsung Discover, [samsung.com] running ICS in all it's glory. Cost about $100 CDN, was sold as a "Pay As You Go" phone, but works with my Telus SIM.

        Sure, it's underpowered, it has to be rebooted daily or the Bluetooth won't connect, and for some reason it won't charge using the cigarette lighter USB plug in the truck, but hey - it was only a hundred bucks.

        Good enough for the time being.

      • (Score: 2) by mcgrew on Tuesday February 25 2014, @02:18PM

        by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Tuesday February 25 2014, @02:18PM (#6610) Homepage Journal

        I have no contract, that's the price of the phone. And it's waterproof! I've lost 3 phones to liquid, one dropped in a toilet, one dropped in a cup of coffee (my ex-wife did that one) and one when I was caught in a pouring rainstorm.

        My youngest daughter tells me she's ditching her iPhone (with its cracked screen, she's broken quite a few of them) and AT&T for a phone like mine [boostmobile.com] and my cheap carrier.

        I see they've come down, they're $99 now. I paid $125 last year.

        --
        Free Martian whores! [mcgrewbooks.com]
  • (Score: 4, Informative) by Wootery on Monday February 24 2014, @07:50PM

    by Wootery (2341) on Monday February 24 2014, @07:50PM (#6104)

    Why does no-one ever think to mention this? [github.com]

    It's hugely important for trust, but even their own home-page [silentcircle.com] makes no mention of its FOSS status.

    • (Score: 2, Informative) by JaKe on Monday February 24 2014, @09:00PM

      by JaKe (2456) on Monday February 24 2014, @09:00PM (#6168)
      Oh, but the technology page [silentcircle.com] is informative.
      • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Wootery on Monday February 24 2014, @10:49PM

        by Wootery (2341) on Monday February 24 2014, @10:49PM (#6255)

        Granted, but this really is easily homepage-worthy. They're pushing a privacy product. Most of their rivals are closed-source.

        It moves it from probably worthless, will eventually be back-door'ed if it sees any real uptake to I hope they're applying the crypto correctly.

        (Remember [betanews.com] Blackberry [theregister.co.uk]?)

    • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 24 2014, @11:59PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 24 2014, @11:59PM (#6293)

      That's a different product (though it's listed as one of the bundled apps). There doesn't appear to be source available for "PrivatOS" in its entirety.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Open4D on Monday February 24 2014, @07:58PM

    by Open4D (371) Subscriber Badge on Monday February 24 2014, @07:58PM (#6113) Journal

    I've heard that many unofficial Android distros have an issue with the Google Apps ("GApps") e.g. http://wiki.cyanogenmod.org/w/Google_Apps [cyanogenmod.org]

    Normally if you don't have access to these Google Apps then you could be said to be missing out. Without the Google Play Store app, for example, it may be difficult to get hold of the 1,000,000+ apps it contains. And many people appreciate the functionality of the GMail, Maps, and Google Drive apps, for example.

    But given the privacy-oriented nature of this particular phone, I suppose committed Google customers are not their main target market.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by mtrycz on Tuesday February 25 2014, @09:47AM

      by mtrycz (60) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @09:47AM (#6513)

      1. Google's core business (Billions of $) is spying people then selling ads.

      2. They couldn't immagine a better way to spy than a cellphone, that's why they invested in Android ("golden nugget")

      3. With this, you're multi-hundred-dollar device hands dato on you to your carrier (obvious), to Google (through GApps), and to the NSA (through syping on GApps and other (always) + request to carrier (ondemand)).
      4. Not having GAapps will at least get rid of your data going to Google and NSA-spying-Google, (while the rest will remain, and is only evitable but not having a phone).

      --
      In capitalist America, ads view YOU!
  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by VLM on Monday February 24 2014, @08:10PM

    by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Monday February 24 2014, @08:10PM (#6123)

    Wouldn't it be a lot cheaper / more effective to buy burner phones?

    I'm not looking for a lifelong commitment to my phone provider where we will spend the rest of our natural lives living in the picket fence house listening to the pitter patter of little phablets growing in the house.

    A simple one night stand, about as long as my relationship with an old fashioned payphone, is quite enough for me.

    I don't have a contract right now and I like it.

  • (Score: 5, Informative) by bah on Monday February 24 2014, @10:47PM

    by bah (1610) on Monday February 24 2014, @10:47PM (#6252)

    I am a paying subscriber to Silentcircle's android and windows software. The quality of their windows desktop software actually makes me a little nervous about shelling out this much money for a hardware product they're involved with.

    The user-interface of the windows software is rudimentary at best and doesn't support simple things like the ability to select the input webcam device. So if you're on a system with two webcams (for example a built in laptop webcam of my Lenovo Yoga with an external USB webcam plugged in), you're stuck with the Silentcircle software only using the built in webcam. In fact, on my desktop, since I have no built in webcam, I can not get their software to work at all with my USB external webcam, rendering the software unusable for video conferecing. I even sent an email to Silentcircle about this and received zero response, which as a paying customer I was not too pleased about.

    The android software is better, and mostly just works, but I do get frequency disconnects.

    I really want Silentcircle to succeed here, but my initial impression having only used their software for a couple of weeks, is that they are a really tiny company and not up to the task of mass-scale support of their software to paying customers.

  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by d on Monday February 24 2014, @11:17PM

    by d (523) on Monday February 24 2014, @11:17PM (#6270)

    As in the title - could somebody explain me the reasons why there is no end-to-end encryption in mobile phones? I understand that the codec and compression would make it quite difficult, but still - why can't we still simply talk privately over GSM?

    • (Score: 2, Informative) by ementaler on Monday February 24 2014, @11:54PM

      by ementaler (1796) on Monday February 24 2014, @11:54PM (#6289)

      Actually, purchase includes 2 years of apps usage - you also get 3 x 1 year subscriptions for people you wish to communicate securely with (so they don't have to buy the damn thing). Speaking of, all the people bashing it seem rather sure modem has unrestricted access to RAM. Maybe it'll work as same as Neo900, CPU controlling microphone signal sent to the modem?

  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by dentonj on Monday February 24 2014, @11:45PM

    by dentonj (1309) on Monday February 24 2014, @11:45PM (#6284)

    Good read.