AH Blackphone 2-2

Blackphone Firm Silent Circle Ups Security to Keep ISIS Out

November 23, 2015 - Written By Tom Dawson

Following the disgusting attacks in the French capital by ISIS-affiliated terrorists, it’s no surprise that more conversations surrounding surveillance and secure methods of communication have surfaced. Towards the end of last week, we heard that ISIS had been using Telegram to broadcast recruitment messages and news bulletins, these have since been shut down according to Telegram themselves. Now, Silent Circle, the firm responsible for the Blackphone line of Android devices running PrivatOS has said that they’ve taken steps to prevent ISIS using their encrypted and private devices and services.

Speaking to the AFP, Mike Janke, Chief Executive and Co-Founder of Silent Circle said that his company had introduced “more aggressive back-end payment technology to reduce the likelihood of evildoers like ISIS” using their products. It is unsurprising to hear that ISIS have apparently recommended devices like the Blackphone to their teams and affiliated groups. After all, the best way to do anything remotely evil or unjust is to simply not get caught, and if a device like the Blackphone reduces that risk for ISIS, then it’s no surprise that they will start to use it. Janke went on to rightly say that “whether it’s a cricket bat or a car, one percent of the human population will use it for evil, you can’t penalize the other 99 percent of the world.”

Products like the Blackphone are becoming more popular, and earlier this year newcomer Sikur launched the GranitePhone, a device put together with the help of Archos and Sikur’s private communication services and backend. The GranitePhone is readily available for anyone to purchase with a PayPal account, and we recently got the chance to speak to the firm’s CEO Frederico d’Avila to ask him why that was among other things. The message we keep on hearing from firms like Silent Circle and Sikur is that these platforms are often used by government agencies all over the world, as well as big corporate entities, but as Frederico has told us, “prosumers” are turning to these devices more and more. Whether or not the recent attacks in Paris as well as scares in Belgium will spark calls for tighter control over companies like Silent Circle and Sikur selling devices direct to everyday users is unclear, but we wouldn’t be surprised if they did.