The U.S. government has settled on Google’s Android platform for secure phones, mainly because the software is open and can easily be modified. CNN reported the news this morning, noting that Apple was asked to provide access to its code so the operating system could be modified specifically for secure government use. Apple declined to offer such access.
The modified Android software will be installed on commercially available handsets and can be used to support top-secret dispatches; something that the government doesn’t yet allow for. In the future, soldiers could use the handsets to locate other troops or quickly communicate orders to a group securely.
Ironically, the government group formed to manage the Android software project has already made a bold claim that makes the carriers look silly from where I stand.
Information-security director at George Mason University, Angelos Stavrou, is a contractor on the project and said when Google updates its Android software, an update to the secure Android phones can be ready within two weeks. Given that carriers can take 6 months or more to provide Android updates on some handsets, one of them should hire Stavrou away from this project!