Germany touts high-security phone

Wednesday, 19 November 2003, 1:16 PM EST

A German company launched a new mobile handset on Tuesday targeted at business executives that secures that lines are free from eavesdroppers, sparking criticism that it could also make criminals harder to catch.

Berlin-based Cryptophone, a unit of privately held GSMK, developed the phone by inserting an encryption software inside a standard handheld computer phone. This ensures that calls can only be decoded by a similar handset or a computer running the software.

But the phone is seen as a mixed blessing in some European countries. While the benefits for business managers exchanging sensitive information are obvious, such a device could potentially have the side effect of helping criminals.

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