“Black phones” featuring heavy data security have grown quickly in the smartphone market after Edward Snowden leaked National Security Agency phone spying programs, and the newest market entry is naming the least-expensive model yet after the former agency contractor himself.
FreedomPop’s “Snowden Phone” will use a 128-bit encryption to secure all of a user’s calls and texts over the company’s free wireless service. Users will be able to browse the Internet anonymously on the phone via a virtual private network, and change their phone number whenever they like.
The handset itself is actually a Samsung Galaxy S II with a dual-core 1.2GHz processor, 16 gigs of storage and an 8-megapixel camera. Altogether with the free service that runs off of Sprint’s unused network capacity, the total cost is $189 with three months of 50 megabytes-worth of free data — after that, data goes up to $10 per month. Customers will also have the option of purchasing their phone with Bitcoin to maintain anonymity.
According to the FreedomPop the Snowden Phone keeps third parties from eavesdropping on private communications, collecting private data — including that used for advertising purposes — bypasses website restrictions and protects against malicious software.
Though its hardware is a little dated and its service is limited in terms of data, the Snowden Phone certainly makes for a decent alternative to Silent Circle’s more advanced $629 Blackphone, with its host of encryption apps and services, or Boeing’s Black, which self-destructs when tampered with and will only be offered to certain government officials.
With its reasonable price and free service, the Snowden Phone could make for an apt secondary handset to use for all of your more-private communication needs.