Budget carrier FreedomPop today announced a new Privacy Phone service that attempts to offer secure and anonymous voice, text and data communications.
Jokingly referred to as the “Snowden phone,” FreedomPop’s latest offering is based on a Samsung Galaxy S II. Voice and text will run over 128-bit encryption, while data is funneled through a pre-installed VPN. In an extra touch of security, you’ll be able to pay for the phone in bitcoin in order to keep the transaction anonymous. FreedomPop also says you can change your number whenever you want.
The Privacy Phone costs $189 and includes three free months of unlimited voice and text and 500MB of monthly data. The plan costs $10 per month after the initial free period.
FreedomPop first launched its free mobile phone service last October and has been steadily adding support for new devices and plan options. The network buys minutes and data from Sprint while also routing your service through Wi-Fi when possible.
From the use of Snowden’s name to the inclusion of bitcoin support, the marketing language around the Privacy Phone feels like a gimmick that’s relying on the latest buzzworthy topics, but it does seem to offer greater protection than the standard service you’d get from a major carrier.
While we’ve become skeptical of anything dubbed “NSA-proof,” recent revelations have certainly got us thinking more about our digital privacy. If this takes off, you can expect the government to come poking around looking for terrorists and drug dealers, but in the meantime, you can get some extra peace of mind at an extremely affordable price.