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Special “Privacy Phone” running Firefox OS said to launch next week

by Jacob Kleinman | February 24, 2015February 24, 2015 8:00 pm PDT

Firefox OS

Mozilla’s Firefox OS hasn’t been a huge success in the smartphone market so far, but the open-source software could get a boost next week with a new phone focused on protecting your privacy. The Wall Street Journal reports that the so-called “privacy phone” is set to launch next week at Mobile World Congress through a partnership with German carrier Deutsche Telekom.

The mysterious device would ship with privacy-focused software out of the box, focused on the location-tracking tools built into most new smartphones. Instead of pinpointing your exact location, apps might offer a more general estimation that still does the job.

“Many apps, like weather apps, don’t need to know my exact location,” Deutsche Telekom’s head of data privacy Claus Ulmer told WSJ. “It is sufficient if the location is accurate to 20 kilometers.” It’s unclear what that means for more exact services like turn-by-turn directions, when pinpoint accuracy is pretty much a requirement.

Of course, this isn’t the first privacy-focused phone to hit the market. The Blackphone offers a secure version of Android called PrivatOS complete with a full suite of encrypted apps, while every company from BlackBerry to Samsung to Apple claims to offer the best protection for your data. Still, Mozilla has a history of putting its users first, and the new smartphone could help introduce Firefox OS to an entirely new market.

We’ll be covering MWC live from Barcelona all of next week, so hopefully we’ll get a chance to try out the new privacy phone for ourselves.

WSJ TechCrunch

Jacob Kleinman

Jacob Kleinman has been working as a journalist online and in print since he arrived at Wesleyan University in 2007. After graduating, he took a...