• Spain's news in English

'Self-destructing' spy phone tested in Spain

Steve Tallantyre · 28 Feb 2014, 16:44

Published: 28 Feb 2014 16:44 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

With a specification sheet more suited to 'Mission Impossible' or a James Bond movie than a tech conference, it was no surprise the 'Boeing Black' wowed crowds at the recent Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

Although Boeing are keeping tight-lipped about the full capabilities of their new 'spy phone', they have let slip some basic facts.

The Android-based phone can encrypt calls, protect stored information and even 'self-destruct' by deleting all data if anyone tampers with the casing.

Slightly bigger than an iPhone, it has two SIM cards instead of the usual one, to connect to multiple phone networks at once.

Apart from that, they are saying nothing. In fact, the phone's technology is so top-secret the Chicago-based firm have asked the US Federal Communications Commission to keep the details "permanently withheld from public inspection."

They wrote, "Boeing's Black phone will be sold primarily to government agencies and companies engaged in contractual activities with those agencies that are related to defence and homeland security."

Anyone who gets their hands on the phone will have to sign a confidentiality agreement.

To make sure that the phone was safe for secret agents to use, the American company handed over the prototype to a Spanish laboratory belonging to  AT4 Wireless for tough testing.

The Spanish firm's Malaga-based lab said recently the phone had met the US tolerance standards for radiofrequency emissions.

Now Boeing can be sure stray radio signal from the phone won't send planes falling out of the sky, it will be examined further in the US before being approved for use in the field.

The phone's encryption technology could have prevented a diplomatic crisis earlier this month by preventing the eavesdropping of US diplomat Victoria Nuland's highly embarrassing phone call to the US ambassador in Ukraine, in which she told the EU in no uncertain terms where to go.

Story continues below…

Cybersecurity is a hot topic in the mobile world right now.

Spanish smartphone firm Geeksphone has linked up with Silent Circle, a US encryption company, to produce the Blackphone.

Although not fitted with movie-style self-destruct technology, the Madrid-based company's phone is designed to be highly secure and is already available for pre-order.    

Don't miss stories about Spain, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Steve Tallantyre (news@thelocal.es)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Eight very creepy Halloween costumes ideas from Spain
Photo: Pan's Labyrinth

Forget flamenco dancers and bullfighters, The Local counts down the freakiest alternative costume ideas to dress up in this Halloween.

Man attacked by racist thug in UK street for talking Spanish

Tomas Gil, 27, from Valencia in eastern Spain was talking to his girlfriend in their native language after a night out in the British seaside town of Poole when he was set upon by a racist thug.

Malaga: Police probe bizarre 'sex death' of homeless Brit
The man was found near Malaga airport. Photo: Dennis Howlett / Flickr

A British homeless man was found dead tied to a bench near Malaga airport with his trousers down and his genitals in a can of tuna.

Clock ticking as Spain races to avoid third elections
Third elections could now be avoided. Photo: AFP

Spain's Socialists voted on Sunday to allow the conservatives to take power, likely averting a third election for Spaniards tired of going to the polls.

Spain worries about tourism future
Photo: Josep Lago / AFP file picture

After basking in its best tourist summer season in 15 years, Spain now sees dark clouds on the horizon as popular destinations reach saturation point and holidaymakers are more thrifty, industry experts say.

Spain's Socialists lift veto on Rajoy to break deadlock
The Socialists have decided to lift their veto on the minority conservative government or not. Photo: Gerard Julien/ AFP

Spain's embattled Socialists on Sunday voted to lift a long-standing veto that has prevented the conservatives from forming a minority government, in what should finally end a ten-month political impasse.

Spain's 'Napflix' aims to bore viewers to sleep
Photo: Screengrab/ Napflix

A Spanish video platform called Napflix, designed to put people to sleep with dull content, was launched this week and its founders are on the lookout for more "monotony and repetition."

Recipe: How to make fabada - traditional Asturian bean stew
Photo: Flavio Lorenzo Sánchez/Flickr

The hearty Asturian dish is a perfect lunch on a cold day... and don't forget the crusty bread and cider!

Brit 'paedo' held on Costa del Sol after Most Wanted appeal

One of Britain's most wanted fugitives was arrested on the Costa Del Sol following a tip-off from an expat just hours after his face appeared on a public appeal.

Spain's parliament approves deficit reduction measures
Photo: Images Money/Flickr

Spanish lawmakers approved on Thursday measures to reduce the public deficit and keep it under the target agreed with the European Union.

Hunt launched for ten most wanted Brit fugitives hiding out in Spain
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Napflix: Spaniards launch very boring TV channel for siestas
Madrid parish church faces fine over 'too noisy' bells
Celebrate expat life at Madrid’s THRIVE convention
Fury after kids told to bring their own loo roll to school
Disney announces plans for Don Quixote action movie
Activist tells 8-yr-old matador wannabe with cancer 'just die'
King to make last minute push to avoid third vote in Spain
Amazing photos of Catalonia's 'human tower' contest
What's on in Spain: October 2016
'No way, Jose! You'll never get your hands on our Rock'
Recipe: How to make a classic Spanish tortilla de patatas
Chorizo in paella? Go back to cooking school Jamie Oliver
Spain in eye of a perfect storm after 10 months without govt
Thousands share clips of life for 'Spain in a Day' film
Ten incredible Spain locations for Game of Thrones season 7
Analysis & Opinion
Why moving to Spain could be the best decision of your life
Seven reasons why autumn is the very best season in Spain
Spanish study finds four types of personality. Which are you?
New search underway for civil war grave of poet Lorca
Bison found decapitated on Valencia nature reserve
Forgotten Voices: What Brits in Spain think about Brexit
One dead and 14 injured in blast at Spanish resort
jobs available