BlackBerry buys “Merkel phone” security outfit Secusmart

BlackBerry Z10

BlackBerry has bought the German mobile security firm Secusmart, best known for providing the technology behind Chancellor Angela Merkel’s BlackBerry handset.

In a statement, BlackBerry chief John Chen said the purchase played into the Canadian company’s “focus on addressing growing security costs and threats ranging from individual privacy to national security.” Secusmart managing director Hans-Christoph Quelle said he was looking forward to serving more BlackBerry government and enterprise customers around the world.

The two firms have been working together for some time on services for government agencies, and Secusmart recently said it intended to start selling the “Merkel phone” (actually a bundle of certain BlackBerry models such as the Z10, and a special microSD card for secure storage) to private customers as well.

It should be noted that we’re talking about the phone Merkel has used since the Snowden leaks in mid-2013, not the old dumb-phone (a Nokia 6210 slider) that the U.S. so controversially bugged.

Secusmart’s technologies encrypt both voice and data, and the firm recently signed up with carrier Vodafone to offer its Secure Call app to enterprise customers. The company also provides encryption for landline services.

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