A supposedly NSA-proof phone is only as good as the apps you have installed. The makers of the Blackphone know this, and have announced plans to launch a super-secure app store in January next year. The Blackphone app store will contain a selection of apps that have been carefully vetted by the company’s security team, so they don’t compromise the device’s secure nature, or your privacy.
Right now, Blackphone users download apps from the Amazon App Store because the device is not affiliated with Google and cannot access the Play Store. While Amazon’s App Store should take care of most users’ basic needs, it doesn’t offer the same high-security apps Blackphone users desire. Blackphone’s CEO Toby Weir-Jones told the Guardian that the secure app store won’t offer games or social networking apps, but rather a carefully curated selection of “quality apps with things that have a broad alignment with our privacy and security focus.”
Before the apps make it inside the Blackphone app store, security experts will investigate to make sure they don’t spy on users. Updates will also be monitored to ensure apps don’t get hacked or suddenly go rogue on users.
“We’ll have a few degrees of vetting,” Weir-Jones said. “We’ll validate that the apps will do what they intend – call it the Apple model. If you have an app to manage your social media accounts and it wanted access to your microphone and your camera we might ask why and get on a first screening.”
Along with the app store, Blackphone will also add a new feature from Graphite Software called Spaces, which gives users the ability to split apps, data, and accounts into two separate, isolated spheres: Personal and work. The new feature will arrive as an update to PrivatOS, Blackphone’s Android-based operating system, and is reminiscent of BlackBerry’s Balance. The company’s secure Silent Suite of encrypted communication apps will also arrive with the update. Blackphone hopes the improvements to the device will help woo security-minded corporations, businessmen, governments, and those who simply want the guarantee of more security.