Secure smartphones are nice, but not enough

Mike Elgan

Why Black is the new black
A smartphone that protects against intrusion, surveillance and hacking sounds like a good idea. But in the short term, at least, hardly anyone is likely to buy a phone like that.

Why not? For starters, hardly any carrier will sell the Geeksphone Blackphone. One of the Blackphone's security features is a stipulation that carriers who sell it are not allowed to install any software on the phone, and that makes it less appealing for them. The Dutch telecom KPN announced that it will sell the Geeksphone Blackphone starting in June in three European countries, but so far no other carrier has announced that it will sell it.

The Boeing Black phone won't be for sale to the public or to individuals at all. It will be purchased by government agencies and distributed by them.

Smartphones are insecure. But the Geeksphone Blackphone and the Boeing Black phone, as useful as they'll be to a tiny number of users, aren't going to solve the larger problem. It's unlikely that they'll account for anywhere close to even one percent of the total smartphone market anytime soon.

What we need is for regular, everyday smartphones to get better security. Consumers also need to care enough about security to seek out both more-secure phones and apps that provide better security. I just don't see either happening anytime soon.

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