Boeing’s ‘Black’ smartphone for spies self-destructs to save secrets

Giuseppe Macri Tech Editor
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Leading avionics technology developer and manufacturer Boeing is breaking into the smartphone market with “Black” – a Mission Impossible-worthy device that self-destructs if an attempt is made to breach its security.

“Boeing’s Black phone will be sold primarily to government agencies and companies engaged in contractual activities with those agencies that are related to defense and homeland security,” Legal counsel for Boeing Bruce Olcott wrote in the company’s detailed letter to the FCC earlier this month, asking the agency to keep the phone’s specs secret. “The device will be marketed and sold in a manner such that low-level technical and operational information about the product will not be provided to the general public.”

Black will run on an Android operating system as a “sealed device” requiring a non-disclosure agreement to be signed for use.

“There are no serviceable parts on Boeing’s Black phone, and any attempted servicing or replacing of parts would destroy the product,” Olcott wrote. “Any attempt to break open the casing of the device would trigger functions that would delete the data and software contained within the device and make the device inoperable.”

According to Boeing’s FCC filing, Black will use dual SIM cards on Global System for Mobile, Wideband Code Division Multiple Access, and Long Term Evolution service networks to provide a variety of telecommunications access worldwide. It will have WiFi and Bluetooth capability along with an HDMI port and removable battery, according to a Myce report.

Black will likely be a limited special use item for Department of Defense officials that routinely handle highly classified sensitive information like the DOD Mobile Classified Capabilities program, which grants on-the-go access to the department’s classified email and data network, SIPRNET. It could also be a candidate to replace BlackBerry devices that have become the DOD’s secure device of choice, specially encrypted versions of which are currently used by President Obama and other high-ranking officials.

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