Digital life reporter Katie Humphrey covers all things Internet and culture, from apps and social media to goofy memes and studies proclaiming tech will doom/save us all. Chat with her on Twitter: @HumphreyKatie.

Would you buy a phone that helps you hide?

Posted by: Katie Humphrey Updated: July 17, 2014 - 5:18 PM

Sure, you want privacy on your phone. But how far are you willing to go to get it?

Would you trade your Samsung Galaxy for a phone that promises more privacy but involves 23 steps to install the Amazon app store before you can even begin downloading apps?

USA Today had an interesting story earlier this week about just such a phone, called Blackphone. With a promise to let you text, call and browse the Internet without leaving a trail of personal breadcrumbs, it's aimed at business people or government employees who need high security.

Blackphone CEO Toby Weir-Jones also makes the case that it has consumer appeal. In a video with the USA Today story, Weir-Jones says, "We don't want you to be paranoid. We want you to be in control."

Blackphone runs its PrivatOS operating system on top of Android. It has its own apps for texting, storing contacts and secure browsing. The company's blog explains how to get more mainstream apps -- Facebook, Netflix, etc.

In a post about Blackphone, Weir-Jones has a point when he writes, "Privacy cannot be fringe, or something that only concerns a certain type of person. It has to be routine, and accessible, and absolutely unremarkable. We want to create a culture in which it's OK to ask for it."

An admirable goal, no doubt. But will people -- many of them happy to give up personal info for a freebie or something that interests them -- go out of their way to be private?


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