Many tech businesses have been exploiting the absence of ultimate privacy in the smartphone market.
In the recent Mobile World Congress (MWC), Geeksphone and Silent Circle launched the Blackphone.
The Blackphone is a “security-oriented” Android smartphone skinned by Geeksphone’s private smartphone user interface, called PrivatOS.
“We modified some default behaviours of Android and some security flaws that we found and we call that PrivatOS. It’s just small modifications of the Android core,” said Geeksphone founder and CEO Javier Agüera.
“For example the default crypto engines — there’s a list of crypto engines that the system by default uses… and in the first version of Android the first option was good enough, then they changed it for something that is terrible. So we reverted that to what it was before.”
“PrivatOS is 100% compatible. It doesn’t create any fragmentation at all,” he added. ”Also we made performance improvements.”
The Blackphone will ship in June — with a price tag of $629 — but the company has already started taking pre-orders via its website, and snagged its first carrier partnership with Dutch mobile operator KPN.
PrivatOS will get direct — and frequent — over-the-top updates from Blackphone. Which is as it should be; a security-centered phone can’t have users waiting around for a fix to a new software vulnerability.
“This is one of the most important features because if we discover something we will fix it right away,” said Agüera. He added that new PrivatOS features that get developed in future will also be made available to all existing Blackphone users.
The pro-privacy feature-set that has been detailed so far includes Silent Phone and Silent Text for secure, encrypted telephony and messaging — using Silent Circle’s secure network— so that only you and someone also using a Blackphone or using Silent Circle’s service on another device are privy to the contents of the messages.
Check out the Blackphone at https://www.blackphone.ch/
Then comes the trending start-up search engine DuckDuckGo, aimed at user privacy and anonymous searching.
We’re pretty sure you’ll be hearing more than a few quacks about DuckDuckGo in the media soon. In the meantime, here are six key things you should know about the little search engine that can, as mentioned by Entrepreneur:
1. It’s big on privacy.
The words underneath DuckDuckGo’s search box read “Search anonymously. Find instantly.” Search anonymously isn’t an exaggeration. In this case, it means that DuckDuckGo doesn’t know who you are when you use it and can’t — and pledges not to — tie your searches back to you.
2. It doesn’t collect and save your identifying data.
Unlike its bigger, nosier brothers (ahem, Google, Yahoo and Bing), DuckDuckGo claims it never nabs your IP address — ever — giving you wings to freely fly the far reaches of the Internet privately. Oh, the places you’ll go! Or not.
Other identifying information that DuckDuckGo says it doesn’t save includes: login credentials for other services, like usernames and email addresses and social media logins, individual identifiers stored in browser cookies, dates and times of your searches and quite a bit more.
3. It doesn’t save or share what you search for.
Somewhat disappointingly, unlike Google, DuckDuckGo offers no “Search History” option. So, nope, you can’t go back and dig through all of your (or your 13-year-old son’s) past searches for stuff you wish you didn’t forget.
The often uncomfortably personal contents of your searches also won’t be shared with (or hawked to) third-party advertisers, insurance companies, college admissions officers, employers, and the list goes frighteningly on.
DuckDuckGo really, really wants you to know why it’s important to protect your searches, which the company explains in this eye-opening illustrated guide
4. It doesn’t offer the joys of auto-complete.
It’s also notable that DuckDuckGo doesn’t offer a search auto-complete feature. You know, like that sometimes hilariously revealing one that’s so fun to rubberneck at on Google. Instead, DuckDuckGo filters out overly advertisement-cluttered results and mainly serves up relevant, refreshingly spam-free results.
5. Yup, you will run into ads.
6. It’s growing fast, but not fast enough to threaten Google, not even a little.
Sure, DuckDuckGo snagged a few sparkly headlines when it nearly doubled its usual traffic pretty much overnight after Edward Snowden let the NSA’s PRISM spying racket out of the bag.
And, yes, it’s notable that fledgling site last year pulled in more than 1 billion searches in all. Still, that’s a teeny, tiny drop in the bucket compared to Google. One billion also happens to be the number of searches the Google machine gobbles up in a single day alone.
Keep quacking, DuckDuckGo. Looks like you have some catching up to do, big time.
Check out DuckDuckGo at https://duckduckgo.com/