Who cares about privacy?
The classic argument, "If you're not doing anything wrong then you have nothing to worry about," has a tiny, yet important flaw. The word, wrong. Who defines what is wrong and what is not? For instance, if I were to text a crude joke to one of my friends in my contact list (as I often do) the recipient and I would most likely laugh and think the joke was...at least acceptable (if not actually funny). If someone (say an NSA official) intercepts and reads this text, then that's where the laughter will most certainly cease. It's at this point where things can get a little...wonky. Imagine, a simple joke intercepted, taken out of context, and then investigated by the Feds because you mentioned a government official by name! The possible, although unlikely, nightmarish scenarios are limitless. Your phone has everything dear to you including text messages, emails, bank information, locations, friends, pictures, videos, and on and on and on. Who cares about privacy? Well, in a word, me. And I'm sure you do as well. Really, how would you react to someone standing over your shoulder reading what you're writing; or worse, you come back to your desk and see a co-worker going through your phone's photo gallery? This is happening to everyone on the planet all the time without the "benefit" of actually seeing and identifying the spy. We know this because of, "He who should not be named." (No, not Voldemort. Think neve.)
The government apparently has no care whatsoever for your privacy, but thankfully, the private sector does. Yes, the time has come to go on the offense and stop playing defense with something that is yours...your privacy. (This mantra, IMHO, is something that should be touted in all aspects of the human experience. Anyway, I digress.) Enter Blackphone!
Blackphone is a private start-up company doing one thing: Building an Android-type phone that is 100% secure.
From their site:
"Blackphone is the world's first smartphone which prioritizes the user's privacy and control, without any hooks to carriers or vendors. It comes preinstalled with all the tools you need to move throughout the world, conduct business, and stay in touch, while shielding you from prying eyes. It's the trustworthy precaution any connected worker should take, whether you're talking to your family or exchanging notes on your latest merger & acquisition."
I'll buy one as soon as I can, I promise you.
In the meantime...
I like my privacy. I have written multiple articles on privacy that help keep your life, well, yours. Take a gander here:
- E-Privacy (Part 1)
- E-Privacy (Part 2)
- E-Privacy (Postscript)
- Prime Numbers and Encryption
- Tips to Make Your Computer Run Faster
- BitCoins - The private Internet currency.
There are plenty of apps (some are subscription based) that you can install for securing your phone:
- Encrypt an email account you already have: Thunderbird with Enigmail; Mac Mail with GPGTools; Outlook with GPG4Win
- Private email clients: Unspyable, Countermail, or Shazzle
- Search engines: Ixquick and DuckDuckGo
- Mobile calls: RedPhone, Silent Circle
- Android proxy: Orbot
- iOS proxy: FoxyProxy (configure it as a proxy, not a VPN)
- Mobile photos: ObscuraCam
- Text messaging: TextSecure
- Online tracker blocking: DNTMe
- Web-based chatting: Adium with OTR, Cryptocat
- Mobile chatting: Gibberbot (Android), ChatSecure (iOS) Virtual private networks (VPNs): iVPN, Private Wifi
- Hard drive encryption: TrueCrypt
- Web browser: Tor Browser (and Mozilla’s Firefox is the best major browser on privacy)
- Mobile browser: Onion Browser (iOS), Orweb (Android)
Imagine a world with no bathroom or bedroom doors, with transparent walls, and with everyone knowing every thought in your head! Yikes! Remember, you're doing nothing wrong...until someone more powerful than you says you are. This is when the fun begins.
If you have any good security/privacy tips, please share them with the world in the comments section below.
P.S. You might wanna uninstall Google Maps and Angry Birds. Why? Check this out.
P.P.S. For the record, I do not have a (real) Facebook or Twitter account. I have various real and disposable email accounts, none of which reveal my true identity. At home, I have VPNs galore with A/V and anti-spyware software o'plenty. Not to mention everything I mentioned in the E-privacy articles. Even my co-workers call me Bronx. (My real name is Joe...or is it?)