The Rise of Blackphone
We are greatly humbled and honored
We at Silent Circle are simply blown away that the International Spy Museum in Washington, DC has put the Blackphone on permanent display. Concurrently, the Victoria & Albert Museum in London is honoring Blackphone in the All of This Belongs to You exhibit going on now through July 19, 2015. I don’t think the word “proud” does our feelings much justice here: there is such cultural significance in these great museums recognizing a device that protects our privacy. We have evolved as a global society to put enormous value on our personal, family and corporate information, and I am glad that the world has stood up and noticed that individual and enterprise privacy is a right we must fight for. We will continue that fight, and are greatly humbled that our efforts have been recognized by two such venerable institutions in the Spy Museum and the V&A.
Solving a major “Pain Point”
Back in early 2014, Phil Zimmermann, Jon Callas and I were in New York City doing an interview at a prominent technology magazine. The reporter asked us “Why would you choose to build a phone that’s focused on privacy and security? Who will buy that? Why do we need it?” It was actually a great question, but one that at the time was complicated to explain. Why? Because since the summer of Snowden, everyone—press, politicians and people in general—began using the words “privacy” and “security” with the same frequency and familiarity of “Internet” or “cloud” or “big data”. “Privacy and security” became a familiar phrase as people began to recognize its importance—yet no good solutions existed to actually provide it.
Our early interest in building the original Blackphone came from our desire to have a device for ourselves that did not leak data to apps or services without our knowledge or permission. We wanted a device that gave the user complete control over all of their data, putting the choice of what to share and with whom back in the user’s hands. We also knew that enterprise customers, including Fortune 500 companies, and had a HUGE pain point around data leakage. Enterprises around the world had almost no control over data, intellectual property, and other sensitive company information leaking out of their devices every second of every day. And finally, many organizations were adopting BYOD policies and cloud services, and looking for a way to implement seamless secure communications.
Also during this the time, global awareness grew of the massive data theft happening on mobile devices by “Freemium” apps, phone makers, telecoms and everyone else in between. Before we launched our first Blackphone at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in 2014, many of the leading pundits and experts were literally calling us crazy and stupid for building our own device—but things changed very quickly. We were awarded “Device of the Year” at MWC 2014, Top Inventions of the Year by Time Magazine, named among MIT Technology Review’s top 10 technologies of 2014 and many, many more honors and awards. We were pleased to see industry leaders and key informers recognizing the enormous value of the Blackphone, but even we did not expect to hit such a nerve and gain such popularity so quickly.
The Platform Evolves
Life has moved quickly for us at Silent Circle as we continue to build more devices (Blackphone 2 and our tablet), software and services. We were very lucky to start 2015 by bringing Bill Conner from Entrust on board as our new President and CEO. This too was an evolution that was needed in a fast-growing company. The complexity, revenue, customer base and platform grow so quickly and with such complexity that we needed a very experienced hand and professional CEO to lead us to the next stage.
Over the course of the last 24 months, we have evolved beyond just a secure device maker or a software company or a calling plan provider. We have become an integral platform that companies and individuals use for secure communications and secure business. We have since added our Silent Store for apps on the Blackphone, Silent Spaces, and released multiple updates to our popular PrivatOS operating system for Blackphone. We will continue to evolve as we meet the ever-changing needs of private consumers, small, medium and large organizations around the world.
Sexy and Secure
Sounds like the opening of a steamy novel, but in reality the idea of “sexy and secure” is a driving force behind our new Blackphone 2 devices. Silent Circle CEO Bill Conner coined this phrase earlier this year as a way to encapsulate our design and architecture philosophy moving forward. Our goal is to build devices that offer privacy and security while also being highly stylized and beautiful for daily use.
We know that in a constantly connected world with ever-growing privacy challenges, we have a lot of room to continue growing and improving. I am very pleased that we now have global delivery contracts for Blackphone 1 and our new 5.5” Blackphone 2. We are gearing up to begin shipping the new Blackphone 2 in late summer, and are excited to meet the global demand for secure communications and enterprise privacy solutions.
View more images from Silent Circle’s reception at the International Spy Museum on our Facebook page.