Can You Hear Me Now?

You might have heard this story. When Barack Obama became the president of the United States of America, he was told that he could no longer use his personal BlackBerry to receive e-mails, for the reason that it is not secure. Shortly after he took office, however, press reports emerged that one of America’s government agencies had succeeded in creating an encrypted BlackBerry, which had been specially designed for President Obama.

The IDF is considering doing the same and in the coming year plans to choose a new phone model to be used by commanders for the “Mountain Rose” encrypted military cellular network.

Mountain Rose is a completely secure network that enables IDF commanders to communicate with one another via cellular phones that can also be operated from behind enemy lines, as they were during Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip in 2009 and the Second Lebanon War in 2006.

In comparison to cellular phones used by the public, the model used by the IDF – designed by Motorola according to military specifications – is too bulky and large.
Following Cast Lead, OC C4I (command, control, communications, computers and intelligence) Directorate Major General Ami Shafran ordered his staff to propose a new device that could replace the phones currently used for the Mountain Rose network.

Under consideration is the BlackBerry as well as Apple’s I-Phone. The IDF is also planning to expand the bandwidth of the network to enable the new devices to receive live video footage from unmanned aerial vehicles, as well as to hold video-conference calls.

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