Skip to comments.Merkel reportedly gets NSA-proof phone with chip costing 2.5k euros
Posted on 06/27/2014 6:23:58 AM PDT by McGruff
German Chancellor Angela Merkel can finally hold phone talks with no fear of being tapped by foreign agents, as she now has a secure, German-upgraded Blackberry, Bild reports. Merkels contacts now need to install a 2,500 euro crypto-chip to talk to her.
While the German federal prosecutor is investigating the alleged tapping of the chancellors phone, exposed by former US National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden, Merkel has been looking for ways to get her privacy back.
About a year after Snowdens leaks published by SPIEGEL, which stated the NSA was spying on some 500 million German communications every month, including up to 20 million telephone calls and 10 million internet data exchanges a day, German media reported that the countrys leader had ensured she is no longer on the snooping list.
According to Bild.de, Merkel has acquired a BlackBerry device with a crypto-chip developed by Dusseldorf-based company Secusmart. Choosing between a classic BlackBerry design and a touch screen variety, she reportedly picked the Q10 model with keyboard.
The Chancellor had to wait for a year for her new phone to be made, German media said.
The new phone was probably worth the wait, though: it encrypts all voice calls, as well as all internet communications and short messages within a government intranet, to which it is said to be connected via a highly secure VPN connection. Private calls can also be encrypted with Secusmart technology.
There is one catch, however: to establish a secure connection, the recipient of the call must also have a device with a crypto-chip. These dont come cheap, costing 2,500 euro (3,400 US dollars) each. Apparently, the entire German government will now have to stump up extra in the name of security.
Merkel is not the only world leader in the BlackBerry club ironically, US President Barack Obama is also a long-time BlackBerry fan. It is now unclear, however, which of the two have a more secure modification of the Canadian phone.
lol It does!
At least someone is stopping the spread of Police State America.
I’ll bet you the NSA designed the chip
... or paid for the keys and algorithms.
They actually don’t ‘pay’ for anything they get from vendors. They threaten, browbeat and coerce.
Since whistleblower Edward Snowden exposed the National Security Agencys bulk telephone collection program last year, the government has repeated a familiar mantra to ease the privacy concerns of Americans.
You have my telephone number connecting with your telephone number, President Barack Obama said in a PBS interview last June. There are no names, theres no content in that database.
As you know, this is just metadata, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, chairwoman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said at a news conference in June 2013. There is no content involved.
As the Presidents Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies has noted, the argument that the collection of bulk telephony meta-data does not seriously threaten individual privacy, because it involves only transactional information rather than the content of the communications. Indeed, this is a central argument in defense of the existing program.
Talk about a great product idea!
If the US can arrest foreigners in other countries for violating US law while in foreign countries, why can’t Germany (and everyone else) arrest US Gov’t operatives for crimes committed against them from US soil?
Our gov’t is beyond out of control.
She has avoided Obama like the plague. Apology not accepted!!
For example, let's do a rough calculation of the amount of metadata required to describe one phone call. Erring on the high side and allowing for international calling codes, we'll allow 16 digits each for the caller's number and the recipient's number. We'll also assume that the start and end times are both stored in full yyyy-mm-dd-hh:mm:ss format (instead of the more efficient option of storing start time and call length, with hh:mm:ss sufficing for the latter), and add two extra digits to each to round them up to 16. We'll also generously allow a full byte per digit (even though a byte has room for two decimal digits) -- so each call requires 64 bytes of metadata.
Now, we need to estimate the number of phone calls made in the world. This estimate of 12.4 billion calls per day seems reasonable (about two calls per person, including infants, deaf-mutes, people who live in isolated low-tech societies, etc).
So, the amount of phone metadata generated in one year is:
64 bytes/call * 12.4*10^9 calls/day * 365.25 days/year = 2.9*10^14 bytes/yearA two-terabyte drive costs about $100 (not factoring in bulk discounts) and is a bit larger than a deck of cards (I have one here; it measures about 3x10x14 cm, padded case included). A gross (144) of them suffices to store all the phone metadata generated worldwide in one year. This would cost less than $15K and fit in a largish footlocker.
Obviously, the NSA (which has humongous buildings dedicated to data storage) is sweeping up a lot more than that.
They need the metadata to facilitate finding any particular phone call in the sea of raw data they are storing.
2.5K EU later, it will still be “Was ist los?”
Who built the chip, Andrea?
she needs a cone of silence.