As I write this Edward Snowden has made another revelation about the capabilities and ambition of the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA).
The latest is that the agency has been pressuring European nations to look for loopholes or modify laws so it can engage in mass vacuuming of signals from telecom carriers.
So what’s a person to do to get some privacy? If you live in the U.S. there’s a few smart phones, such as FreedomPop’s Privacy Phone, a Samsung Galaxy 2 with a 4.3-in screen that includes privacy software that encrypts calls and texts over FreedomPop’s VoIP network. All application and internet browsing is also encrypted using a 128-bit VPN.
A company spokesman told me the handset runs on Sprint’s network, so it might work on Bell Mobility and Telus up here.
Larry Magid in SiliconValley.com outlines two other alternatives: The Blackphone from Silent Circle, and the still under development Boeing Black.
These may be locked for U.S. carriers and unable to be plugged into a Canadian network — unless it’s Wi-Fi, but don’t be surprised to see more solutions like these popping up, particularly as revelations of Snowden increase.
Yesterday I wrote about a report from the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab, which has been trying to find out exactly how much co-operation is going on between Canadian wired and wireless telecom carriers and law enforcement agencies.
Some are willing to declare that they only comply with judicial orders; others aren’t so clear.
As long as there’s vagueness there will be interest, if not demand for, smart phones that can deliver more protection than anything off the shelf.