An end to German Chancellor Angela Merkel's phone problems?

Angela Merkel with phone Image copyright Reuters

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has waited a year, but at last she has a phone that will keep her free from eavesdropping by foreign secret services, it seems.

Last June US National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed that his employers had been intercepting Mrs Merkel's calls, to her public anger, and the German media have been rife with speculation ever since as to what sort of mobile she will chose to enhance her security. Now Focus magazine reports she has opted for a Blackberry Q10 phone with encryption by the German company Secusmart.

The phone shields not only phone calls, but also provides a secure link to the German government's intranet. It allows the chancellor to send emails through a highly-secure "virtual private network" connection, as well as brief text messages. The only snag is that the phone of Mrs Merkel's interlocutor must also have the same level of encryption, and it doesn't come cheap. Secusmart's chip costs 2,500 euros (£2,000; $3,400).

Smartphone enthusiasts may like to know that the conservative Mrs Merkel opted for the traditional Blackberry keyboard over a touch-screen function.

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