If you want true privacy, do not use your mobile phone

(The photo is of my sister and I in China 1975)

I was listening to Leo Laporte’s Tech Guy podcast and he was commenting on the FBI vs Apple case about unlocking an iPhone used by the the shooters.

He was pointing out the following misconceptions in the popular press. Inspired by his comments about all the privacy fallacies,  I wanted to point out what you need to do in order to have true privacy.

If you have iCloud turned on, where it syncs your email, photos, text messages, Apple will hand over the information to the FBI, much like the phone company will turn over phone right records.  The shooter’s phone had a 1 month old backup to iCloud.

turn off iCloud

Apple and Microsoft have a backdoor to your phone if you have auto update turned on. The auto update can completely replace the software and security on your phone.

turn off auto update

Everyone has a GPS, camera, phone with cell signals in their pocket with all their emails and documents synced. The government can track anyone who has a cell phone.

turn off GPS, cover the camera with tape, turn off cell. Buy a disposable phone with cash

The 4 digit code to unlock your phone is not secure,  but it is very convenient.

change it to 16 digits

Fingerprint readers are also not that hard for FBI to hack.

turn off finger print reader

If you use Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook, Box, Dropbox, Evernote,  even if your data is encrypted,  they have private keys that can unlock your data and the FBI can force them to unlock. When you send an email, the receiver has your email content.

do not use hosted email. do not send any emails to anyone

If you use Google Maps, it knows where you go, how long you stay in one place,  and it is able to know if you are in a restaurant,  any local businesses and can guess where your home and work place is based on hour of day.

delete Google Maps, turn off GPS

Now you have a more secure phone, that does nothing and impossible to use :)  But you are more secure and you have more privacy.


Tony Tam