Android Central

"Secure" Android smartphones capable of handling classified content are to be given to U.S. officials across various government and military departments later this year, according to reports from CNN. The network's sources indicate that the devices, which run a modified version of Android, will first be given to U.S. soldiers, and then later rolled out to other officials and government contractors.

Current regulations don't allow those with access to classified information view it using a smartphone, and any device that's used to view or send such data is subject to strict security certifications. According to today's report, government developers have completed work on a version of Android that's certified to store -- but not send -- classified messages, and smartphones cleared to transmit classified data are expected "in the next few months."

CNN reports that the government-approved, secured version of Android, phone users will have control of each individual data transmission to the Internet, to ensure that sensitive information isn't included.

This isn't the first time we've seen Android win approval from the U.S. military. In late 2010 it emerged that General Dynamics was to build its GD300 Wearable Rugged Computer on Android software. Android's emergence as the platform of choice for secure government and military smartphones should go some way towards dispelling the myth that it's less secure than competing operating systems.

Source: CNN; Thanks to everyone who sent this in!

There are 18 comments

bigcatman says:

So how long till we get a leaked Government flavored Ice Cream Sandwich ROM?

But seriously, this is a pretty big for Google.

ilaifire says:

" Android's emergence as the platform of choice for secure government and military smartphones should go some way towards dispelling the myth that Android is less secure than competing operating systems."

This seems like a false statement to me. All it means is that since Android is open source the government can get the code for it, and their programmers can make it secure.

rengek says:

There's nothing false about it. Some android phones are FIPS certified so those meet govt grade security and can do business with the govt. Phones like iphone which for reasons beyond me are still not FIPS certified which means iphones have not proven it meets FIPS standards.

icebike says:

Now if there were just some decent Android phones you could buy that didn't have cameras it would be nice. There are lots of military bases that don't allow cameras period, and cameras in phones get you in serious trouble.

Used to be you could send off to have your camera removed. Not good enough any more. Most such bases no longer allow camera removal as an option. (Guards been fooled once too many times by back-cover replacements).

Seems little point in having a secure version of Android if there are no phones you can use it in.

Yet the best smartphone you can find without a camera seems to be an old Blackberry Tour.

ilaifire says:

If the government is making a custom Android version that is secure, they probably also have a contract to have someone make phones that are acceptable to those rules.

icebike says:

Perhaps for Generals and Admirals, but not for the enlisted folks or contractors that need to work in sensitive areas. These people need commercially available equipment, and many are "reduced" to carrying the dumbest of feature phones while on duty.

rengek says:

Wasn't very long ago that samsung phones passed FIPS certification. So more than likely the govt would be using those phones which would be modified for the govt.

And yes cameras are a big no no. I've worked at military facilities where you had to leave your cell phone in your car if it had a camera in it.

clarkkent434 says:

When I was en we used crapberrys. But I knew that the military was looking for something to replace them.

hmmm says:

Nice, this seems to be RIM's old type of territory. At least I thought Blackberry was usually chosen as a secure platform. Apple with it's iTunes requirement for apps is an obvious "No". Android makes sense as they can customize it how they choose and don't need to rely on Google or anyone else when they want to make changes or use apps they may create.

magellanous says:

Some companies allow phones with cameras now because there are a lot more lockdowns in place to control where the content goes. Our company-issued phones do not allow photo attachments, text messaging or websurfing. Just company mail and calls. You can take all the photos you just can't send them anywhere.

icebike says:

Yeah, that'll work.

Till your employees go home, move the photos by wifi or bluetooth over to their home computer and sell them to the competition.

elmo says:

Someone will have it rooted within a day of it being released.

ODAAT says:

Bye Bye RIM.

ScottJ says:

Someone should tell Microsoft about this. They claim that Google can't get government certification.

deltatux says:

There are several phones that have passed FIPS-140 certifications. The Samsung Galaxy S II and Galaxy Tab 10.1 are examples of Android with government security certifications:

m1armor says:

Good now I won't have to use my minutes.

sk8trix says:

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