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The BlackBerry PRIV is no longer a secret after the company finally announced its plans for an Android-based slider a few weeks ago. But one key question emerged from the news: how will the move to Android affect BlackBerry’s focus on privacy?
A new blog post published by David Kleidermacher, BlackBerry‘s chief security officer, highlights the processes BlackBerry’s undertaking in order to make the PRIV a “secure and private smartphone experience.”
BlackBerry will essentially take the base Android Lollipop OS and perform “extensive surgery under the hood to augment Android’s privacy and security capabilities.” The company doesn’t quite say what that involves but the company’s picture-login system will feature, which means a fairly impressive front facing camera too.
Additionally, the PRIV will feature the likes of WatchDox private file sharing system, BBM Meetings (which is essentially a private version of Skype), and SecuSUITE, which allows users to make private voice calls.
Of course, the company also mentions BBM.
One of the more interesting Android tweaks comes from BlackBerry’s “privacy-related posture” control system. Kleodermacher explains:
BlackBerry has built privacy monitoring hooks deep within Android that provide users with powerful feedback and control over how applications make use of security-critical device resources.
It seems like a completely separate permissions system apart from Android as well, which Google itself tweaked in the latest version of Android, Marshmallow. BlackBerry’s calling this system DTEK but hasn’t fully explained how it works, and nor has Kleidermacher in this post.
Among the many criticisms of Android over the years has been the lax permissions system, which grants apps access to various smartphone parameters, sensors and information upon install, and not when the user specifically opens the app.
Nevertheless, its clear that BlackBerry’s unique selling point for the PRIV is security-minded individuals.
The phone is poised to launch before the end of year, with some stellar specs and a great deal of intrigue, but it’s clear that this will be BlackBerry’s greatest device ever, or possibly its smartphone swansong.