Cryptographically secure phones aren’t new, but their usefulness up until now has been tempered by their generally high pricing and the lack of actual users with the handsets. The Guardian Project plans to change all that, and they’re intending to use Android to do it. A Guardian Android device – which could be any Android-compatible handset, merely updated with a new firmware release – would add an anonymous browser, encrypted email, secure voice calls and secure data sync, among other things.
All of this would be achieved by injecting a healthy dose of security paranoia into Android’s core platform. That would include securing or removing certain hardware drivers, tweaking the kernel, runtime and virtual machine to prevent snooping, strengthening the application framework, and updating existing apps (or replacing them altogether) with more security. To the end-user it would all be transparent, both making for an easy-to-use device and one which, if examined by security personnel, wouldn’t raise any red flags.
There’s also talk of a version of Guardian for Windows Mobile devices, which would be distributed on a memory card, and users could add Guardian-style secure functionality to their network of Android-using friends. Already Tor has been ported to Android, and the Guardian Project is looking for more developers to continue the work.