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Android Cellphones Government Handhelds Security The Military United States

Android Approved By Pentagon 160

Posted by samzenpus
from the getting-the-greenlight dept.
sfcrazy writes "The Pentagon has approved a version of Android running on Dell hardware to be used by DoD officials, along with the BlackBerry. The approval of Android by the DoD is a major setback for Apple's iPhone. This doesn't mean that DoD employees can use any Android phone. The Pentagon has approved only Dell's hardware running Android 2.2. Interestingly Dell recently discontinued its Streak phone which runs Android 2.2. Dell is now offering Dell Venue which runs on Android 2.2. So, this is the phone which DoD employees can use."
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Android Approved By Pentagon

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  • I guess they won't be getting Ice Cream Sandwich without rooting either.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by gcnaddict (841664)
      Right, because rooting a phone you plan on using for handling sensitive compartmented information [wikipedia.org] is such a good idea.
      • by gatkinso (15975)

        Accreditation for mobile devices will only be up to collateral secret... and even that is a big "if."

    • by Threni (635302)

      Who cares? 2.3 is all you need. Seems like nothing but small, unimportant updates for ages now. No point in getting ICS for the sake of it, just like there was (is, in a lot of cases) no point in corporate windows users upgrading from XP to Vista or 7.

      • I know it was past the first sentence, but it specifically mentions being limited to v2.2.

        • by Threni (635302)

          No, the first sentence was:

          "I guess they won't be getting Ice Cream Sandwich without rooting either."

    • by Hadlock (143607) on Sunday December 25, 2011 @08:26PM (#38490806) Homepage Journal

      After 4 days with ICS on my Nexus S, I am seriously considering downgrading. The only end-user changes are almost completely cosmetic, and app/widget support for ICS is poor at best for many things I use on a daily basis.

  • by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) on Sunday December 25, 2011 @05:16PM (#38489954) Homepage Journal

    ... I have a hard time believing the open-source-ness of Android played any real part in the decision, no matter what TFA says. Someone at Dell made the right deal with the right people at the Pentagon.

    • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Sunday December 25, 2011 @05:57PM (#38490146)

      The idea that Windows' source code is some massive secret is rather funny. It is closed source, but it is no secret. Not only do governments have it (which they require if it is to be used for anything classified) but universities do too. MS licenses it to various universities with some conditions. Students can see it and mess with it, but not copy it and that kind of thing.

      Any OS the DoD is going to use, they'll have the code for. So to them Windows and Android are no different in that regard.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        With said source, you need actual EXPERIENCED coders (and time) to TRULY "get the hang of it" & what's going on inside it... Windows NT, the forerunner/ancestor of modern Windows OS'? Last I knew of, it had 30 million++ lines of code (means TIME, bigtime, to understand)... it's not gotten smaller in modern varieties either (think Win7/Srv2k8).

        Which is, after all, EXACTLY why the MOST DANGEROUS "hacker/cracker" types, are coders... because only coders, experienced ones (not 'script kiddies') mind you, ha

        • Windows NT, the forerunner/ancestor of modern Windows OS'? Last I knew of, it had 30 million++ lines of code

          Does the ++ apply to million, making it 31,000,000, or is it just 30,000,001?

      • by Galestar (1473827)

        Not only do governments have it (which they require if it is to be used for anything classified) but universities do too.

        Would some kind soul at a university in possession of said source code please put it in a torrent. kthnxbai.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 25, 2011 @05:17PM (#38489960)

    Actually, DOD employees have been allowed to use iOS devices since November with approval of their CIOs, and the same 'blanket' approval which Android 2.2 just received is forthcoming. So much FUD....

  • by bogaboga (793279) on Sunday December 25, 2011 @05:18PM (#38489966)

    This doesn't mean that DoD employees can use any Android phone. The Pentagon has approved only Dell's hardware running Android 2.2.

    How about a headline that goes:

    Dell scores one with Android

    More accurate, right?

    • by aplusjimages (939458) on Sunday December 25, 2011 @05:54PM (#38490130) Journal
      I was thinking:
      Uncle Sam Hates Steve Jobs
      That'll get more reads
      • by drkstr1 (2072368)

        I was just thinking:
        Uncle Sam Must Hate Steve Jobs
        That'll get more reads

        FIFY :)

    • Actually you are more right than you realize. For the most part the DoD doesn't actually go out and look for stuff to approve, the companies themselves have to submit their products to be "Common Criteria" certified. After which the DoD evaluates and either approves or declines the submitted hw/sw... this is all done on the companies dime. So in all likelihood Dell actually paid a decent chunk of change to get this thing certified in hopes that they can sell a lot of units to the DoD.
  • Carrier IQ (Score:4, Interesting)

    by farnsworth (558449) on Sunday December 25, 2011 @05:18PM (#38489972)
    I've always wondered how the military et al cope with things like Carrier IQ. Do they get special builds of iOS and Android that exclude it? How do they keep top secret data from leaking out to third parties?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      They're the ones writing things like Carrier IQ.

    • Re:Carrier IQ (Score:5, Informative)

      by viperidaenz (2515578) on Sunday December 25, 2011 @05:46PM (#38490092)
      Its my understanding you don't need a "special build" of Android to not get Carrier IQ. You need a "special build" to get it - like those created by/for the carriers
      • by gl4ss (559668)

        Its my understanding you don't need a "special build" of Android to not get Carrier IQ. You need a "special build" to get it - like those created by/for the carriers

        correct. with ios it was probably bit tricker since they baked it in by default for some versions and I suppose thats one of the reasons they removed it, so they wouldn't be excluded from certifications in future.

        and well, for everyday things except combat stuff, military would trust telecoms as usual customers(meetings where they discuss stuff like if some base gets budget or not - those talks are with politicians anyhow).

        and the secret, combat etc stuff goes over their own radios and coms anyhow. in most

    • If such a thing as Carrier IQ were on a phone under review by DOD it would have to be removed.

    • by Baloroth (2370816)

      How do they keep top secret data from leaking out to third parties?

      First of all, you don't put top secret stuff on your phone. That is a quick way to lose your security clearance. There are very strict rules about what top secret data can and cannot be placed on: putting it on public-internet facing devices like a phone will get you in shitloads of trouble. It's possible they have Android builds that work on SIPRNET (I've heard the President gets something like that from Blackberry) with a physical switch (SIPRNET devices have to be physically separate in some way from ARP

    • by AmiMoJo (196126)

      It will be a special built containing only apps that have been vetted by the DoD and probably with installation of additional app disabled.

  • iOS approved already (Score:5, Informative)

    by Dupple (1016592) on Sunday December 25, 2011 @05:28PM (#38490018)
    http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/steelcloud-announces-new-dod-platforms-for-securing-good-technology-and-apple-ios-128885828.html [prnewswire.com] ASHBURN, Va., Sept. 1, 2011 /PRNewswire/ ---- SteelCloud, Inc. (OTCQB: SCLD.PK), a leading developer of mobility appliance and VMware® solutions today announced the release of MobileWorks, its newest mobile appliance developed for the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). In conjunction with the recent approval of the use of Apple® iOS devices within the DoD, SteelCloud is pleased to offer the immediate availability of MobileWorks DE for the STIG and security configuration guidance compliant platform deployment of the Good For Government mobile security suite.
    • Don't confuse the fanboys with facts like this. Since they hate Apple, it MUST be "a serious setback" for Apple.
      • A fanboy will defend his product on all levels and be quite joyous for any victory it obtains as a major victory. A hater will find any flaw and use it why the product sucks, and any setback they will quit joyous as it will seem like a major victory.

        Using a chess analogy. Apple just lost a pawn. They knew it will happen. But in the mean time apple has Horton market share and mind share (where all other devices will need to be compared with apples)
  • Ob (Score:2, Funny)

    by Hognoxious (631665)

    Don't ask, don't D^htell.

  • Now China can scan all of the DOD's data without having to put spies into America. Go Dell.
    • by gl4ss (559668)

      you know whats funny? dell does government approved android for BOTH china and usa.

      • And both are produced in China. Only now, dell will shop their android data through China's gov. search engine.
  • Read up on that, ignore the article.

  • by fluffy99 (870997) on Monday December 26, 2011 @01:05AM (#38491992)

    The reality is that DOD has issued a Secure Technical Implementation Guide (STIG) that must be followed if you are trying to get a Designated Approving Authority (DAA) to issue an Approval To Operate (ATO). Actually implementing a secure architecture and getting approval for sensitive unclass, much less classified is a whole different issue.

    I guarantee that approval means the user will not have Android market access and will not be able to arbitrarily install applications. Depending on the setup, an approved android phone may very well have less capability than a Blackberry.

  • That was a great move...Google is unstoppable...
  • Did the approved phones include CarrierIQ? Perhaps it is required by the government :-)

  • Lets see what the article says...

    Why the DoD chose Android? The reason was simple: open source.

    This seems to say that there was only one reason, and it's due to the open source nature of Android. If this was the only reason, why did they also continue to support Blackberry?

    Using Apple's iPhone or iOS by government officials is a risk, especially when used by non-American officials. Apple tracks your movement through the built-in GPS chips.

    (They linked to an old Ars article born in the hype of locationgate)

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