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Silent Circle's encrypted phone app cleared for US government use

The app is deemed secure enough to be used on US government networks, at a time when the same people are fighting against the use of encryption.
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Written by Zack Whittaker on
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(Image via ZDNet/CBS Interactive)

Silent Circle's encrypted phone calling app is now certified for use within the US government.

The app, Silent Phone, allows users to make end-to-end encrypted phone calls from iPhones, iPads, and Android devices, including the company's own hardened Blackphone 2.

FIPS 140-2 validation is a certification required for encryption used in any software-based product deployed on US government networks.

The certification follows other major software makers, including BlackBerry and Apple, whose software is also allowed to be used for low-level secure work.

The company -- founded by encryption and security experts Mike Janke and Jon Callas, and PGP co-founder Phil Zimmerman -- has made a name for itself particularly in the wake of the Edward Snowden disclosures as being one of the most secure and privacy-protecting services available.

Daniel Ford, chief security officer, said in prepared remarks that the certification will help with a significant push into the enterprise market -- of which the federal government is one of the largest.

"Achieving the industry-standard FIPS 140-2 accreditation reinforces our Enterprise Privacy Platform as a legitimate and trusted secure communications ecosystem for the US Government. This accreditation provides a strong foundation for the company to build towards offering our unique communications platform to government organizations throughout the world," he said.

The certification may benefit users in government, but it's the same administration that's spent the past year fighting Silicon Valley against encryption.

Some have called for backdoors to be put in encryption, despite calls from the security and academic community saying it would defeat the very point of scrambled data. Others have called on greater cooperation between the US government and tech companies.

Hands-on with Silent Circle Blackphone 2: in pictures

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