Saturday, February 4, 2012

US military ready to deploy secure Android smartphones

The US government is ready to start handing out Android smartphones to high-ranking officials and soldiers stationed throughout the world, according to new reports. We’ve heard plenty of chatter over the past year or so about the government’s interest in deploying devices running Google’s mobile OS for military use, and, the powers that be have signed off on our favorite green robot’s enlistment forms. The decision came after Google’s biggest mobile competitor, Apple, denied government officials access to iOS source code. Android became an obvious choice due to the platform’s openness and the ability for a third-party to alter the operating system’s code. This has allowed for the government to create their own custom version of Android that meets stringent security standards and allows for the transmittal of classified information.

Much work has been done testing specific applications and analyzing the sorts of data transmitted. Researchers found that many apps often ask for permissions excessive of what they actually need to function. Government-issued Android devices will allow users to see exactly what information is being sent and then decline the transmission of that data. The goal is to provide a strong layer of security while still allowing those with the devices to enjoy a casual game such as Angry Birds during down time.
The devices will be used to relay sensitive information and aid in communications between officials high on the political scale as well as soldiers in theaters of combat. Using the secure smartphones our men and women on the frontline will be able to communicate their position and better organize their military movements.
Oh, and the real kicker? One contractor working on the project has revealed that new Android OS updates will be pushed to government-grade devices in as little as two weeks. With a streamlined approval process, once software has been appropriately modified it will be fast-tracked to deployed smartphones. We’d like to see any carrier or manufacturer top that.

[via CNN | Thanks, Fort!]


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