New options for cell phone privacy

Mar 07, 2015 7:53 pm
[caption width="250" align="alignright"] The device found under the car at the Circumvention Tech Festival.[/caption]Last week, privacy experts and advocates from around the world gathered in Valenica, Spain at the Circumvention Tech Festival to discuss ways to combat government surveillance. Why? Well, besides the listening devices most first-world folks carry around in their pockets these day -- cell phones -- one might find some sort of tracking device on the bottom of a car. That's just what happened at the conference, as one of the activists found a strange looking black electronic device attached to the bottom of their car. Whether it was a hoax or a real spy case, there are clearly a host of devices to spy on citizens, and now developers are working on devices to deny those attemps at surveillance. A second version of an iOS app called "Signal" from Open Whisper Systems, a not-for-profit collective of hackers, was released recently, according to Techcrunch. The American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation both recommend Signal as a solution for protecting your privacy. The app, launched this week on the App Store, can send encrypted group, text, picture and video messages for free from iPhone to iPhone. For Android there are two apps — TextSecure and RedPhone — that when combined do the same thing as Signal does on iOS. A Brazilian company has created something more than just an app -- an "untappable smartphone." Shown for the first time at last week's Mobile World Congress, the GT1 model does not run any kind of social network, according to ZDNet. The Brazilian government is making an "anti-snooping" email platform and has been investing in direct fiber optic cables between Brazil and Europe that will completely bypass the United States. Of course, it may not work in all settings. Wired reports a court filing recently uncovered by the ACLU says that so-called stingray devices used by the Feds can disrupt cellular service for any phone in their vicinity, and not just the targeted phones that the government claims.
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