Boeing develops self-destruct phone

Despite Boeing’s hopes of keeping its device’s development in “stealth mode”, details of its Black phone emerged on Wednesday in regulatory filings published by the Federal Communications Commission.

“Boeing has developed its Black phone primarily by governmental agencies and their contractors to ensure that data and voice communications undertaken by their respective employees are transmitted and stored in a highly secure manner,” it said in a letter requesting confidential treatment of the device through the communications regulator’s review process.

The details of the device are “highly sensitive” and any employees or customers who handle it are required to sign non-disclosure agreements, Boeing said.

(Read more: Mozilla says new chip paves way for $25 smartphone)

Sealed with epoxy resins and screws covered with tamper-proof coating, any attempt to break open Boeing’s Black phone would “trigger functions that would delete the data and software contained within the device and make the device inoperable”, added the letter. “Any attempted servicing or replacing of parts would destroy the product.”

It is unclear how Boeing’s self-destructing phone differs to the “kill switches” offered by Apple, Samsung and other mobile makers to allow remote wiping of lost or stolen devices.

The other Blackphone, launched this week at the Mobile World Congress and the cyber security conference RSA, already has orders from about 20 of the Fortune 50. The iPhone look-a-like encrypts all calls, messages and files, as well as coming loaded with privacy-focused apps for functions such as search.

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