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Vodafone launches smartphone app for encrypted calls

The app will cost about €10 per month and will launch first for Android

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Vodafone Germany will attempt to simplify encrypting mobile phone calls with its upcoming Secure Call app, which it plans to launch for Android, iOS and Windows Phone devices.

It developed the app in partnership with Secusmart, and unveiled it at the Cebit trade show where all kinds of encrypted communications will be a hot topic, driven by the continued revelations from former U.S. government contractor Edward Snowden about National Security Agency (NSA) snooping.

Secusmart's profile has been raised considerably since German Chancellor Angela Merkel started using the company's SecuSuite for BlackBerry 10 to protect her communications.

The new Secure Call app offers businesses and individuals the same level of voice communication encryption that Merkel has, but on a platform-independent basis, according to Vodafone. The app will first become available for Android-based smartphones, and later for iOS and Windows Phone, according to Alexander Leinhos , head of external communications at Vodafone Germany.

It will be launched towards the end of the year, and cost about €10 (US$14) per month, per user.

For now, there are no plans to make Secure Call available outside of Germany, but the app would be attractive to users in other countries as well and exporting it wouldn't be too difficult, Leinhos said.

At Cebit, Vodafone also launched an expanded version of its Secure SIM service.

Secure SIM Data lets enterprises and authorities sign and encrypt e-mails, documents and VPN connections. It also encrypts storage devices such as USB sticks and external hard disks, and can be used on Windows 8-based ThinkPad notebooks and tablets from Lenovo, Vodafone said.

Users don't need a separate smartcard or token because the private key and certificates are securely stored on the SIM card, according to Vodafone, which developed the service with Giesecke & Devrient. For example, to encrypt a Word document, the user enters a pin code.

Secure SIM data adds to the existing Secure SIM Login product for two-factor authentication to access corporate networks and hosted services

Send news tips and comments to mikael_ricknas@idg.com



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