Blackphone: feeding the privacy paranoia?

When I was back home a couple of weeks ago, I read in the paper about the Blackphone. It comes with the stamp of being the safest phone in the world. The engineers who created it are not in Silicon Valley though, they work in a small office in Madrid. This initiative has been pushed by ex-Navy Seals alongside the Spanish manufacturer GeeksPhone.

Maybe you haven’t heard of it. At the end of the day the whole business is about privacy! You might be asking yourself what is different about this phone? Well, it works exactly the same as any other phone but in a safer way. The Internet access is carried out through a virtual private network that sends and receives data in a way that’s designed to keep it hidden. All calls and text messages are encrypted, avoiding firms, hackers, or who knows maybe the CIA, hearing them. It has also got its own app shop avoiding the download of harmful apps (Silent Store).

In our Living with Future Britain research, we saw that people were happy to give personal details away as long as they were getting something in return. This didn’t need to be a monetary reward. This was also backed by one study by The Future Foundation that stated that 42% of us are happy to provide personal information in exchange for better services and offers.

The private data exchange

It has been a bad year for data security. Leaks seem to be getting bigger and more frequent. Let’s not forget scandals like Ashley Madison , iCloud leaking celebrities’ naked pictures or the latest news about the NSA spying on us.

It would be interesting to explore if people’s attitudes to privacy have changed as a result. Are we heading towards a world where everything is secured and everyone is paranoid about their pictures or information being shared with the rest of the world?

According to the University of Oxford (and against what some people might think), young people are more likely to be concerned about privacy than older generations and change (as a result) their privacy settings:

Changing privacy settings, by age of user


There is no doubt that privacy concerns are rapidly growing; however at the same time information is more publicly available. Will the Blackphone have a mainstream future? Would this have an impact on advertisers? Only time will tell.


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