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We are all understandably ’hysterical’ about maintaining our privacy. There is no doubt this is a burning, crucial issue. Nevertheless, we ought to bear in mind one thing: however important privacy is, by hanging on to it, we are making it harder for law enforcement authorities to protect us, in terms of regulation, technology and so on. We are making things tougher for them to safeguard our own private data, to the point of undermining their efforts. One of the most important tools authorities have is intelligence and access to the most private data of those hell-bent on hindering our safety and security.
There are currently numerous methods used to invade our privacy and access our most private information. For instance, cellular and Wi-Fi intelligence and wiretap systems, Trojan horses, spyware, and even Apps and Cloud Interception. All these systems have one common thing: they are driven by the tracker’s desire to access secret data, the target’s classified material and info. These activities focus on the targets’ cellular phones, and certainly on apps and cloud-stored data.
Silent Circle recently unveiled the new generation of its encrypted smartphone at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The new smartphone (along with the tablet which was also unveiled), is designed to be an integral part of the fight to promote privacy and combat tracking and theft of personal information. Commerce, hackers, advertising, stealing and espionage are each biting into privacy. A secure smartphone was already showcased last year. This year sees a more advanced platform.
The innovation of new smartphone does not come into play in terms of software and performance. Truth be told, this is a common old garden phone, compared with Android-based models. The company developed its own dedicated operating system, PrivatOS 1.1. This software runs ’over’ the phone’s Android operating system, and encrypts all the data the phone stores: contacts, messages, person to person calls and even conference calls.
The company is making use of a new concept called Spaces, a form of virtualization. The effect is akin to the single phone constituting several platforms. Thus, each phone entity is capable of setting a different level of security. Meaning, one of the multi-phones can feature regular security, another would be encrypted for personal use, and the third would feature organizational encryption (per our place of business or phone issuer). The company also offers applications available at its online store. All the featured applications were thoroughly screened to verify they do not constitute a ’backdoor’ for hackers, thereby undermining data security.
This move is part of an ongoing ’cat and mouse’ game of encryption and code breaking. The company even launched a prize winning contest for finding bugs and security breaches in its products. This is noteworthy for its mixed message and the doubt it casts over the whole endeavor. On the one hand, the company assures its products feature the world’s best security. On the other, the company is eliciting crowd-sourcing to find breaches. After all, malevolent parties are willing to pay handsomely for those breaches.