The year 2013 will probably be remembered as the year when the general public learned that there are no guarantees of security and privacy in cyberspace. Aerospace manufacturer Boeing took a stab at a perfectly secure device as it unveiled the "Boeing Black" this week, entering the race to make a smartphone that keeps its data safe.

Blackphone, a startup smartphone for consumers that looks to make users' data "NSA-proof," recently unveiled its new device. Meanwhile, Black, Boeing's similarly-named secure smartphone, was shown off at the 2014 Mobile World Congress expo in Barcelona, Spain this week. And Black is an Android smartphone that comes with several data security features for the extremely data security-conscious, like perhaps NSA employees, themselves.

Security, Inside and Out

Like other smartphone data security systems, like Samsung Knox, Boeing's Black runs a Boeing-made security architecture called PureSecure. It features a trusted boot mode that can keep anyone from rooting the phone, disabling it altogether as a failsafe measure. It also features internal storage encryption and has strict location and network connectivity functions to prevent invasions of privacy or data loss.
Most of those features aren't revolutionary for smartphones, and savvy users in the general public who have put privacy and security as a priority are probably already aware of alternative Android apps and software that perform many of the same functions -- though they likely necessitate a more hands-on approach. But there are a few new security features that Boeing has packed into Black that are unique and interesting.

Unlike a lot of smartphone security suites, Black has a support for dual mobile networks -- that is, it has two SIM card slots. This takes Black beyond the general consumer market and into the government or high-security business realm: presumably, one SIM card would be for everyday use, while the second slot would be reserved for private business or government networks. Of course, Black can switch between the two and can completely firewall one from the other.

Perhaps the most interesting feature of Black is the no tamper feature built into the handset's chassis -- and they're serious when they mean "no tamper." With many smartphones, like the new iPhone 5s and Android handsets that have "kill switches," ordinary attempts to hack into a stolen or lost phone are met with passcode verification and software that will disable and/or wipe the phone clean if its hacked.

But the Boeing Black goes much further. Calling it a "sealed device," with detailed tech specs kept secret and which will be sold with an end-user nondisclosure agreement, the Boeing Black will "self destruct" if it's tampered with. According to Ars Technica's report on Boeing's Bruce Olcott's letter to the FCC, "There are no serviceable parts on Boeing's Black phone, and any attempted servicing or replacing of parts would destroy the product. Any attempt to break open the casing of the device would trigger functions that would delete the data and software contained within the device and make the device inoperable."

That takes security a step further than Silent Circle and Geeksphone's startup "Blackphone," which is being marketed as the NSA-proof consumer smartphone and was made available for preorder during the MWC.

Specs: Not So Much Q-Branch

For those potential James Bonds out there, don't get too excited about Boeing Black as an all-around Android smartphone. It comes with a 4.3-inch HD screen and a 1590 mAh battery, and is run by a dual-core 1.2 GHz Cortex A9 CPU, putting it years behind the current crop of premium smartphones. It supports MicroSD cards, but what size still remains a mystery, and other features include a full USB port and a PDMI port for use with DisplayPort connections, USB 3.0, or HDMI remote interfaces.

Still, a Samsung Galaxy S5 won't have options like secure satellite communications or hardware-based internal storage encryption, which makes Black pretty cool.

However, given the specs and the security features, don't expect Black to appear on the shelves for general consumers -- or even mid-level security employees. Instead of an NSA-proof phone, Black might be seen as the NSA's next Snowden-proof phone.