secure cellphones go commericial, part II

Major Variola (ret.) mv at
Wed Nov 19 17:25:03 PST 2003

Yes, from /.

New Cellphone Offers Big Shots Eavesdrop-Proof Call
Tue Nov 18,10:23 AM ET  Add Technology - Reuters to My Yahoo!

By Lucas van Grinsven, European Technology Correspondent

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - A German company launched a new mobile handset on
Tuesday targeted at business executives that secures lines are free from
eavesdroppers, sparking criticism that it could also make criminals
harder to catch.

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Berlin-based Cryptophone, a unit of privately held GSMK, developed the
phone by inserting an encryption software inside a standard handheld
computer phone. This ensures that calls can only be decoded by a similar
handset or a computer running the software.

But the phone is seen as a mixed blessing in some European countries.
While the benefits for business managers exchanging sensitive
information are obvious, such a device could potentially have the side
effect of helping criminals.

Security specialists in the Netherlands said the device could threaten
criminal investigation by the Dutch police, which is one of the world's
most active phone tappers, listening in to 12,000 phone numbers every

But privacy lobbyists say the new handset is a "freedomphone" much more
than a "terrorphone."

"It's a tremendous step forward, because the level of surveillance by
authorities is breathtaking," said Simon Davies, director of Privacy
International in Britain. Cryptophone says unlike rivals such as
Sweden's Sectra, Swiss Crypto AG and Germany's Rohde & Schwarz, it has
no ties to national security and defense organizations and that there is
no back door for government agencies.

"We allow everyone to check the security for themselves, because we're
the only ones who publish the source code," said Rop Gonggrijp at
Amsterdam-based NAH6. Gonggrijp, who helped develop the software, owns a
stake in Germany's GSMK.


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