FreedomPop's 'Snowden phone' encrypts your calls and data

The new $189 "Privacy Phone" comes with VPN, 128-bit encryption, and other tricks aimed at keeping you safe and anonymous.

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

Want to protect your phone calls and data from the feds, hackers, and other snoops? FreedomPop's new Privacy Phone promises to do just that.

Nicknamed the "Snowden phone" after NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, the phone is actually a Samsung Galaxy S2 that FreedomPop rejiggered into a call- and data-encrypting device. Equipped with 128-bit encryption, the phone aims to secure your voice calls and text messages. A built-in virtual private network lets you surf the Web anonymously.

Selling now for $189, the Privacy Phone comes with unlimited voice and texting. FreedomPop throws in 50MB of monthly data access for the first three months and then charges $10 a month after that. Users can pay for the phone anonymously via Bitcoin and request a new phone number as often as they want.

The retooled Galaxy S2 comes with a 1.2GHz Samsung Exynos C210 processor, a 4.3-inch screen, 16GB of internal storage, and an 8-megapixel camera.

"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," FreedomPop Chief Operating Officer Steven Sesar said in a statement. "Large carriers don't have the flexibility, desire, or creativity to invest in privacy. We don't agree with this approach and felt it was up to us to create a truly private mobile phone service at an affordable price."

You can check the FreedomPop site to see whether coverage is available in your area.

FreedomPop's new phone isn't the only device promising security and privacy. Unveiled at last week's Mobile World Congress by Geeksphone, the $629 Blackphone aims to encrypt your phone calls and e-mails as well. Currently up for preorder, the Blackphone is due to debut this summer.

About the author

Journalist, software trainer, and Web developer Lance Whitney writes columns and reviews for CNET, Computer Shopper, Microsoft TechNet, and other technology sites. His first book, "Windows 8 Five Minutes at a Time," was published by Wiley & Sons in November 2012.

 

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