The state of the internet
Right now we are living in the most important time of the internet’s history. The dream of connecting all the nations of the world with an electronic nervous system has been realized. This has created the greatest opportunity for growth and prosperity in human civilization. However the idyllic vision has turned into a fever dream. The natural human desire to interact and share has been redirected by social media corporations in order to market products and surveil their users. On the backs of these economic behemoths lurk nefarious predators: organized criminals, spies & authoritarians who invade or usurp these platforms. Behind the scenes these groups are brutally fighting each other for global supremacy by subverting the infrastructure of the internet. Their information is then translated into physical action by targeted attacks, arrests and killings. Criminal gangs steal identities instead of wallets. Missiles are launched at cellphone signals. Corporations ruined with illicit leaks. Anyone who tries to insulate themselves away from this is targeted and isolated. The mere desire to want to communicate privately is seen as suspicious, people are targeted by intelligence agencies as potential suspects for shielding themsleves without any crime ever being committed.
Increasingly small businesses and groups are being swept up in these digital wars inadvertently. Smartphones have become the richest source of personal information possible, as a result they have become one of the most prized hacking targets. Unfortunately, they are also often the most insecure. We believe to restore privacy we must begin by addressing the most prudent problem, so we’ve created the most secure smartphone possible: Armadillo Phone.
We’ve designed Armadillo Phone to resist targeted intrusion from even the most high-level attackers. Not only from remote hacking, but also theft, torture and attacks from compromised cellular networks. We study real world attacks, and circumstances used to force users or companies into giving up their information. We realize that by doing this it personally makes us valuable targets, so we’ve predicated our entire organization on a ‘zero-trust’ model. Despite our attempts, we realize that eventually we will probably be compromised at some layer, so we take great pain to make sure that if this happens we mitigate any damage that can be done. We don’t require anything other than the bare minimum to provide service to our customers. We’re unable to access users’ encryption keys, communications or personal information. We isolate systems away from each other whenever possible.
What we’ve been up to
Since 2014 we’ve been working privately on technology to help the world communicate without fear. We knew as soon as we announced ourselves we would get thrown on the radar of modern internet predators who feel threatened by us. However, now that we have a secure and rugged platform for 2017 we think it’s time for us to come out of the shadows and stop hiding. We are Pacific Research Alliance, a collective based out of Vancouver, Canada. We’ve been funding software developers and engineers behind the scenes to work on FOSS projects as well as helping create our own. We’ve conducted penetration tests against our networks, reviewed proprietary hardware code and financed public audits including a cryptographic audit of the OMEMO protocol. Our dedicated team of researchers is constantly probing the landscape for innovative vulnerabilities. Most importantly we’ve been refining Armadillo Phone’s software to be simple to use and resilient to attack.
What we’re going to do
It’s our hopes that by providing this information for public consumption we can generate increased attention on the problems we’re facing digitally. Although we may have painted a bleak picture with this post, we are excited for the future and optimistic that the tide is turning. Digital privacy is a difficult, but winnable fight and ultimately a very important one. If you’d wish to help, please contact us to learn more.