At first it was apps like Wickr and Silent Circle designed to keep users’ communications safe but now we’re seeing more solutions baked right into handsets. Blackphone is perhaps the most popular example but low-cost mobile provider FreedomPop is now getting in on the action with a modified Samsung smartphone known as The Privacy Phone.
FreedomPop has taken the tried and true (and very dated) Samsung Galaxy S2 and given it a makeover. The retooled phone uses 128-bit encryption to keep calls and text messages private while a virtual private network (VPN) is used to keep data usage safe and secure.
In a statement on the matter, FreedomPop COO Steven Sesar said that in light of recent violations in consumer’s privacy across social networks and mobile devices, privacy is becoming increasingly important to many Americans and we all have a right to communicate anonymously. He goes on to point out that large carriers don’t have the flexibility, desire or creativity to invest in privacy and that they don’t agree with this approach.
The phone runs a version of Android Jelly Bean so it’ll continue to receive updates. The company is also offering the ability to remotely wipe a lost phone and users can request a new phone number as often as they’d like.
The modified smartphone will set you back $189 without a contract, a sum that can be paid for with Bitcoin for added anonymity. That price tag includes three months of unlimited voice, texting and 50MB of data. After that period expires, expect to pay $10 per month for the service.