The Blackphone 2…Proof That People Are Dolts When It Comes to Security
So it goes like this: As I talk about often on the Dark Android Blog, and the Dark Android Project in general, you want to get away from the Google Play Store. It’s a cesspool of tracking, privacy-ending apps, and lack of security that would make a cypherpunk’s brain melt 15 years ago (but who cares about them, they only predicted nearly every privacy/security problem we have right now). And like Edward Snowden said not so long ago: “Stay away from Facebook and Google”. But why listen to him? What the Hell does he know? It’s not like ol’ Ed has ever shared important information with humanity before (and I hope you can smell the sarcasm I’m baking here).
But seriously, one of my main goals with the Dark Android Project is to get people away from Alphabet/Google and its apps, services, and search engine. I also want to get people away from devices that have SIM cards in them, but that’s a much harder task.
One company that was with me on getting people away from Alphabet/Google while still using Android (which is exactly what I describe doing with Dark Android) was the heroic Silent Circle. Granted, they weren’t getting people away from the SIM card, but even that security hole–as I understand it–could be getting closed by Silent Circle at some point in that they control total production and shipping of their products (so perhaps one day they can make their own secure SIM cards…we’ll see).
Anyway, a year ago or so when Silent Circle released their first piece of hardware–the Blackphone (I love the name)–I think Silent Circle made an excellent move by NOT including the Google Play Store on the device, and battening down their own version of Android: PrivatOS. It was a bold move, and I loved it.
However, with the release/pre-order of the Blackphone 2 (costing $799…wow), we now know that the Blackphone’s successor will indeed have the Google Play Store on it. I think this is incredibly disappointing. Not that I’m mad at Silent Circle, necessarily. Hardware-wise they’ve put together a great phone, and PrivatOS still has some solid built-in options…well, take a look at the specifications for yourself first:
- LTE and Worldwide 3G/HSPA+ connectivity
- 5.5″ FullHD Gorilla Glass display
- Qualcomm Snapdragon Octa-Core Processor
- 3GB RAM & 32GB internal storage
- microSD card slot supports additional 128GB
- 13 MP BSI Camera Sensor (5 MP front)
- 3060 mAh Battery with Quick Charge 2.0
Not bad. So again, I’m not really mad at Silent Circle. I’m pissed off at “the people”. Silent Circle had it right when they didn’t include the Google Play Store when they were trying to build a smartphone that actually gave a damn about privacy and security. But…ohhh no…the average dumbass fuck just had to have their Facebook or Instagram app, didn’t they? They just couldn’t live without Angry Birds! They just had to have all of the nonsense that comes along for the ride in the Google Play Store.
What nonsense? How about Google+? How about Google Tracking…err…Location Services? How about Gmail? How about all the stuff that Google requires to stay on your phone if you want to ship that phone with the Google Play Store onboard, all of which sends back so much data to Mother Alphabet/Google that every time you bitch about Windows 10 sending back data you look like an entire iron kitchen calling the kettle black.
I can just hear the wails of the common man: “Oh please! Please! Privacy is my right! Give me security! Just make sure I can have Facebook Messenger so I can cheat on my significant other with other Facebook users! Please!”
And that’s how it goes, and you fucking know it! Don’t confuse me, the Blackphone 2 is an excellent phone, and I think Silent Circle is one of those rare companies today that has their head screwed on straight. But they are wading in a sea of imbecilic mundanity that doesn’t understand what they are trying to do and why it’s so important for them to do it.
Maybe Silent Circle will make it easy to delete certain Alphabet/Google features on their phone, I’m not sure. Maybe they’ve gotten the whole “locking down of permissions” thing worked out (so that various apps can’t access your camera, etc., even if they want to). And all of that would be great. Like I said, it’s an awesome looking phone, and I love the idea of PrivatOS. I wish them all the success in the world with their mission of creating a secure device.
But clearly the world isn’t ready for it.