With all of the privacy concerns in the U.S. with the National Security Agency, some smartphone makers are trying to provide their customers with more security and privacy.
You may be familiar with one that was recently launched at Mobile World Congress, Blackphone, that runs its own PrivatOS and is built on Android, offering anonymous search functions, smart disabling of WiFi, private calling, anonymous anti-theft and remote wiping features, all for $629.
Today FreedomPop launched the Privacy Phone, its own smartphone to address monitoring and Internet tracking, which the company nicknamed the “Snowden Phone.”
It comes at a much cheaper price than Blackphone, at $189, and uses FreedomPop’s VoIP network. It uses 128-bit encryption to encrypt both voice calls and text messages, while apps and Internet data will be sent through an encrypted virtual private network, or VPN.
All that being said, if FreedomPop wanted to ensure more security, it could use more than 128-bit encryption and VPNs aren’t safe from everyone.
Some interesting things to note are that the phone is a modified Samsung Galaxy SII, a fairly outdated smartphone running Android Jelly Bean with a 1.2GHz duel-core Samsung Exynos processor, 16GB of storage, a microSD card slot, 8-MP front-facing and 2-MP back-facing cameras and an 1800mAh battery.
Taking its security even further though, FreedomPop is now accepting bitcoin payments so its customers can pay their bills anonymously, plus customers may request a number change at any time and as many times as they want.
The Privacy Phone can be purchased from the FreedomPop website now and the $189 price tag includes unlimited voice and text, 500 MB of data for three months and then costs $10 a month after that.
The post FreedomPop announces the Privacy Phone, its “Snowden Phone” with encrypted communications appeared first on AndroidGuys.
When surveillance agencies collect large volumes of cellular data, it’s easy to understand why you’d want an extra-secure smartphone. Those devices aren’t always affordable, though, which is why FreedomPop has launched the Privacy Phone for $189 contract-free. It’s ultimately an old Galaxy S II, but its software boasts some strong secrecy measures — all of its internet-based calls and messages are encrypted, and data goes through a virtual private network (VPN) that masks your identity. Don’t count on total security. FreedomPop isn’t using more than 128-bit encryption, and VPNs aren’t always safe from prying eyes. Still, the Privacy Phone may fit the bill if you’re looking for better-than-usual anonymity at a low price.
You no longer have to live in one of a few fortunate countries to make a Skype call while checking your Outlook.com email: as of today, Skype for Outlook.com is available worldwide. All you need now is to download a browser plugin and link your Skype account. The global release comes alongside improved software support, too. PC users can now participate in HD video chats, while Mac users get a Safari plugin. If you’re heavily invested in Microsoft’s internet services, everything you need to get started is at the source link.
It’s been a long time coming, but Skype’s revealed that folks can finally sign up for service using a Microsoft account. Skype believes this feature is perfect for users who perhaps want the least amount of logins possible, and it also points to Microsoft’s two-step verification as a benefit for having such an account. Meanwhile, the Windows Phone app has been updated with a number of security improvements, plus an indicator which lets you know when the person on the other side is typing. As part of the integration with its parent company, Skype will now require a Microsoft account (like the one used to set up your WP device) when registering for a new account through the application. This new version is only available for Windows Phone 8, however — as you might recall, support for the app on earlier versions of the OS was cut off months ago.
Via: The Next Web
Japan’s answer to Amazon, Rakuten, has just got into the mobile communications business by purchasing internet calling app-maker Viber for $900 million. Viber was one of the first to introduce 3G VoIP on the iPhone, and now lets you call any land-line or mobile phone, send messages and even push-to-talk. The app is available on all major mobile and desktop platforms, and is one of Skype’s biggest rivals with over 300 million users worldwide. According to the WSJ, Viber’s global userbase helped draw Rakuten, which is trying to expand its business interests beyond Japan’s shores. It also recently purchased a huge stake in Pinterest and bought e-reader maker Kobo. Rakuten’s CEO confirmed that Viber “perfectly compliments” its goals and said the acquisition “will enable it to penetrate new markets with multiple digital content offerings.”
When it comes to making free VoIP calls using your Android phone, you have a bunch of options. Services like Skype or Fring let you call other users for free, but you’ve got to remember to fire them up before you start dialing. Instead of using one app for regular calls and another for VoIP, newcomer Bolt replaces your phone’s dialer with a one-stop solution for both. Unlike other services that require you to buy credits to make regular calls, the app connects to traditional phones the old-fashioned way — over your wireless carrier’s network. Calls made to other Bolt users are routed over the web for free, and sip a meager 60KB per minute. That means even with FreedomPop’s free deal (which includes a paltry 500MB of data), you’d be able to chat with mom for more than 142 hours before getting hammered with overages.
The company hopes to ultimately become a fully formed communication platform, and offer messaging services as well. Long-term that could mean users could pare down on mobile minutes and messaging packages, and instead spring for a slightly larger data package on their mobile bill. Android users can snag the app now from Google Play, and an iOS version is already in the works.
Via: The Verge
Voice-over-IP (VoIP) is nothing new as a technology, of course, but so far it’s been regarded merely as an add-on to America’s regular, analog-based copper and cellular voice networks — networks that are currently maintained as a matter of legal requirement. The FCC isn’t necessarily such a stickler for tradition, however, as it is now encouraging phone networks to explore what would happen if VoIP replaced everything else. In other words, how would the system cope if the only phone numbers were Internet Protocol addresses; if even emergency calls were transmitted over the web; and if remote rural communities became dependent on VoIP, with no other type of network as a backup? Companies that want to participate in the experiment have until late February to submit their ideas, with approvals expected to be granted as early as March — but don’t fear, the tests will only be permitted in “discrete geographic areas or situations,” which is the FCC’s way of politely reminding telecom providers not to get ahead of themselves.
Popular VoIP service Viber today released a new version of its Windows Phone 8 app. This update focuses on delivering smarter notifications and giving users more customization options for their statuses. For example, the application can now play a sound when a notification comes in, and it also gives you the ability to choose whether or not you want to hide these. In addition to that, Viber has added a “Seen” feature which shows when a contact has viewed a user’s status, while “Last online” keeps you better informed on who’s online and able to chat it up. And if you’re into Viber’s custom labels, like the ones seen above, then you’ll be happy to know the Sticker Market is now available on Microsoft’s mobile platform. We’re pretty into that “YES SIR!” one ourselves.
As for Viber CEO Talmon Marco, he’s pretty thrilled and had this to say about the refreshed Windows Phone 8 application:
Bringing the Viber Sticker Market to Windows Phone 8 is a very exciting step for us and we are sure that our users on the platform will love it. This is the first time we are bringing a monetization feature to Windows Phone 8 and it’s another part of our commitment to the platform. More importantly, this release is part of our commitment to our users who want to communicate with their contacts no matter what OS they use.
Source: Windows Phone
In the NSA age, being paranoid really doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you, so placating your fears has suddenly become a cottage industry. BitTorrent, for one, has just spilled more beans about Chat, it’s peer-to-peer, encrypted messaging service that recently sent out a call for alpha testers. Rather than receiving a username, you’ll actually be given a so-called cryptographic key pair, making it nearly impossible for others to guess your identity. Security is also enhanced with distributed hash tables (DHTs) — like those used in uTorrent — so that message requests are passed securely along the network to your intended recipient. That also avoids the use of a central server which could give a single point of attack for snoopers. There’s no word yet on a release date, but the group is busy upgrading its backend for the service so you might be able to put the tinfoil hat in mothballs soon.
Fresh off of the announcement that it’s now allowing users to make calls to any mobile or landline number, Viber today is reaching yet another platform by way of a Windows 8 application. Aside from providing access to the VoIP calling services it has become known for, Viber’s also bringing a few features tailored specifically for Microsoft’s operating system. Namely, we’re talking things like pinning conversations to the Start screen as well as the ability to be used in Snap View mode. Additionally, Viber for Windows 8 offers full Live Tile support, allowing you to easily spot notifications and have quick access to the app. CEO Talmon Marco says coming to Windows 8 was “the natural next step” for his company, adding that this is part of Viber’s big picture strategy and “commitment to wide, cross platform availability.”
Source: Windows Store