Boeing is set to release an smartphone that can self-destruct, but the device's security features call for the utmost secrecy.
As well as encrypting calls, Reuters reports that the Boeing Black smartphone will delete all data and stop working if it's tampered with. It will be targeted at government workers and agencies who have a particular need to keep their communications and data secure.
According to Reuters, Boeing is keeping many details about the phone’s rollout shrouded in secrecy and haven’t even released a price or official release date. They have, however, started offering the phone, which will be made in the United States and run on the Android operating system, to potential customers.
Bruce Olcott, Boeing's counsel, wrote in a letter to the FCC: "Boeing’s Black phone will be sold primarily to government agencies and companies engaged in contractual activities with those agencies that are related to defense and homeland security. The device will be marketed and sold in a manner such that low-level technical and operational information about the product will not be provided to the general public.”
The handset's release marks an expansion of the communications division of Boeing. The Black has been in development for 36 months, Rebecca Yeamans, a Boeing spokesperson, told Reuters.
The Black will be slightly larger than an iPhone, measuring 5.2-by-2.7 inches, and will access a number of different cell networks by using multiple SIM cards; a regular cellphone accesses a single network. And in an additional James Bond move, the phone can be configured to connect with satellites or biometric sensors, and an attachment can make it run on solar power.
Telecommunications companies are increasingly seeing the value in ultra-secure technology to safeguard customers information. Last year, AT&T submitted a patent for a system that would allow emails to self-destruct, allowing the sender to control what happens to the message after it’s been sent. The scheme won’t work for all emails, and as Matt Hickey at Forbes pointed out, there’s nothing stopping a sneaky screen grab.