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Resources Prepping Your Phone for Life as an Anarchist

Discussion in 'Technology' started by stormcrow, Jul 19, 2015.

  1. stormcrow

    stormcrow Appreciated Participator

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    I was very resistant to the idea of getting a smartphone for many years. When I heard about backdoors installed by default like carrierIQ I resolved to stick with my nokia brick for as long as I could. Then I started working at an electronics recycling place and was introduced to both Android and IOS phones that I was expected to be able to fix and erase for resale on Ebay. I knew nothing about either Iphones or the various Android phones at the time, but I've learned a lot over the past few years that I believe can help everybody on here protect themselves. I know I've had police attempt to root through my phone for incriminating information and I am sure I am not a unique anomaly in that regard. I think it is possible to maintain communication with people and keep big brother's prying eyes out of your personal data... To a reasonable extent anyway. My biggest advice is this: If you have important information that you need to relay to others and it could get you or them in trouble, don't store it, send it or otherwise interact with it in the presence of a cell phone. Keep in mind those cute little devices that keep us all connected contain microphones, cameras, text messaging and voice messaging capabilities that can all be turned on remotely by the carrier and various 3rd party apps that you may have installed at any time.

    First and foremost, I recommend that you get an android device. Resist the siren call of the shiny new iphone and get something like a used HTC evo(they are easy to root and relatively cheap, so you won't cry yourself to sleep when you drop it off a train or have it confiscated by the police as evidence against you. Also make sure whatever device you get is supported by Team Win Recovery Project(this is essential as you will see below).

    The next step is to root your device. I used Towelroot, but that may not work for your device. Pretty much any android device can be rooted, but you may have to google around for a bit to find instructions for your specific device(it may be wise to do this research before purchasing the device). This is absolutely essential though. After you have rooted your device you will want to install the SuperSu app(from google play store) and twrp(http://teamw.in/project/twrp2/) as well as flashify, which we will use to flash twrp to the firmware. Twrp will allow us to install different android roms. I suggest you look into something that is close to the vanilla android, without all the bloatware from google and your carrier installed. You can look into things like cynaogenmod or team venom's roms. I would suggest you make a decision now as to which rom you want to try out and download the image. It may also come as zip file... That will work too.

    Next open flashify. Select "recovery image," and then navigate to where you have stored your twrp file. When twrp is finished flashing you can select reboot to reboot into twrp or you can power the phone off and then hold the power key and the volume down key to boot into twrp.

    Once in twrp, it is a good idea to backup your current rom in case something goes awry. It is also a good idea to select the wipe option and do a factory reset on the phone to remove anything that might have been installed by the phone company such as carrierIQ. Then, from the recovery menu select install. You will navigate to the rom file and select it. This will install the new android rom... What we want is a blank canvass to work with. Unfortunately this will not remove all of google's products from your phone... If you are like me you may find google's apps to be useful on occasion, but we can decide to what degree they will rule our lives.

    Depending on the rom you selected you may be able to choose from different launchers and desktop environments. I used nova on my phone and was able to remove the google search bar from the screen and I always go into google settings and turn off any kind of voice features that keep google services listening for voice commands as this will constantly send voice date from your microphone to google servers. This is twofold, it is insecure and wastes battery life. You will find by removing some of these insecure features, you will get a greatly extended battery life.

    From there I install the following apps:

    text secure (encrypted text messaging)
    redphone (encrypted phone calls)
    duckduckgo (search engine with widgets if you are okay with the fact that it is located in the us) or Ixquick (if you prefer a search engine from europe)
    ghostery (privacy enhanced browsing)
    orbot (tor for your phone, only works with apps that support tor or manual proxy configuration)
    peacekeeper (community policing app, so you don't have to call the police for emergencies anymore)
    buycott (helps me to purchase only from companies that are aligned with my ethical values)
    Logging Checker by TrevE (helps keep track of where your information gets sent)
    Mega (encrypted file sharing)
    Some version of a root uninstaller so you can remove system apps that you don't really need or that can be a security risk(use logging checker to help find such things)

    The list goes on.

    I personally install a host file editor so I can block things like facebook and google from my phone. So even if I pass my phone off to somebody else to use they will not be able to contaminate my phone with potential spyware. Of course all bets are off if you are using tor(orbot) as it will bypass any website blacklist you implement locally.

    Make sure you read the app permissions when you install something and keep your phone a little more locked down. I enable encryption for my device, I would recommend you do that too. None of this will make you impervious to spying, but it will make any spy organization's job harder. I recommend you do this even if you are not a potential target of government spying (yes you are , we all are), just to waste their time sorting through encrypted and useless data.

    Finally change usernames and passwords often for anything important, jump from account to account and leave no traces when you discard accounts.

    For more secure digital communication needs always use a computer that you have locked down yourself and are confident is not infected with malware of any kind. Hope this was helpful.
     
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  2. Tude

    Tude Sometimes traveler is traveling.
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    I have a couple of laptops and keep a copy of my phone stuff there. Really odd when you don't have a the cell phone or it has died and I can even call my Mom. wtf - useless. Did that a couple times. I was an idget.
     
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  3. Tude

    Tude Sometimes traveler is traveling.
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    ha meant one thing wrote something else :)
     
  4. wokofshame

    wokofshame STP Homebum

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    Does turning off "location services" in the settings actually prevent the carrier from tracking your location using gps?
    Do you think removing the battery while the phone is off is essential/ a good idea for the paranoid?
    Is covering the camera a good idea?
     
  5. East

    East Celebrated Poster

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  6. Odin

    Odin ANTISOLIPSIST
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    I'm gonna add the body of that article for this... good looking out @East


    Also gonna add the news and resources tabs to this... not sure about resources... bit the info provided in OP on phone mod seems detailed enough.


    Supreme Court rules police cannot search smartphones without warrant

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    WATCH ABOVE: The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that police cannot search a suspect's smartphone without a warrant during an arrest, marking a major victory for privacy rights.
    By David G. Savage contact the reporter

    Police may not search a suspect's smartphone when making an arrest, Supreme Court rules unanimously
    Decision on searches of smartphones marks a victory for privacy advocates
    The Supreme Court brought the constitutional right of personal privacy into the digital era Wednesday, ruling unanimously that police may not search a smartphone or similar device without a warrant from a judge.

    The decision is the court’s most sweeping and surprising criminal law opinion in years, and it is likely to put a significant check on the government’s ability to routinely search other types of electronic devices, including laptops and tablets. Some parts of the opinion even cast doubt on the legality of the National Security Agency’s routine collection of millions of phone records.

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    Key decisions reached as Supreme Court session nears end

    “By recognizing that the digital revolution has transformed our expectations of privacy, today’s decision is itself revolutionary,” said Steven R. Shapiro, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union. “We have entered a new world. But our old values still apply and limit the government’s ability to rummage through intimate details of our private lives.”



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    Two years ago, in the court’s first direct ruling on new types of electronic search devices, the justices unanimously banned the FBI from attaching a GPS device to a car to track the daily travels of a suspected drug dealer. But the justices were divided among themselves and did not issue a single clear opinion.

    On Wednesday, however, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. spoke for a unified court and said that because digital devices have transformed how people live, they must also transform the law on privacy.

    “Modern cellphones are not just another technological device,” he said. “With all they contain and all they may reveal, they hold for many Americans the ‘privacies of life.’”

    Modern cellphones are not just another technological device. With all they contain and all they may reveal, they hold for many Americans the 'privacies of life.' - Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.
    “The term ‘cell phone’ is itself misleading shorthand; many of these devices are in fact minicomputers,” he continued. “They could just as easily be called cameras, video players, rolodexes, calendars, tape recorders, libraries, diaries, albums, televisions, maps or newspapers.”

    Roberts said such devices can reveal “the sum of an individual’s private life [when] reconstructed through a thousand photographs labeled with dates, locations and descriptions.”

    Until Wednesday, the court’s long-standing view was that police were free to search someone who was stopped on the street or in his car and put under arrest. Officers could check a suspect’s pockets and examine his possessions, including a wallet, purse and pockets.

    cComments
    • Just as a reminder, the fact that a policemen sees a photo of my private parts in my data or phone is much less important than what power it grants to intimidate all of us because such searches are allowed. Taken together, the 1st Ten Amendments of the US Constitution are ten "Thou Shalt...
      acct4posts
      at 8:01 AM June 28, 2014
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    141

    The intention was to allow police to protect themselves by finding weapons. But they were also free to collect evidence, such as drugs, stolen goods or papers that might lead to other suspects.

    This was known as the “search incident to arrest” rule, and it had been set out in 1973 by then-Justice William H. Rehnquist. A few years later, Roberts came to Washington to be a law clerk for Rehnquist, and in 2005, he succeeded him as chief justice.

    In Wednesday’s opinion, Roberts said Rehnquist’s “categorical rule” for allowing the police to freely search “physical objects” did not make sense when those items were electronic devices.

    250x141.
    Read the court's ruling on smartphone searches

    “Cell phones place vast quantities of personal information literally in the hands of individuals. A search…of a cell phone bears little resemblance to the type of brief physical search” upheld in Rehnquist’s 1973 opinion, he wrote. “We therefore decline to extend (the older decision) to searches of data on cell phones and hold instead that officers must generally secure a warrant before conducting such a search.”

    The unanimous decision came as a surprise to court watchers. During oral arguments in April, some conservative justices appeared unconvinced about making a distinction between searching a suspect’s wallet and a searching a smartphone. “I don’t see there’s much difference,” Justice Samuel Alito Jr. commented. Privacy advocates worried that some of the justices did not fully appreciate the breadth of personal data available on 21st century digital devices.

    But in the 28-page decision, the court seemed eager to put such concerns to rest, referencing cloud storage technology, geo-fencing security software and apps. It mocked the government’s attorneys for arguing that there was no difference between searching a person’s pockets and their cellphone.

    “That is like saying a ride on horseback is materially indistinguishable from a flight to the moon,” Roberts wrote.

    On Twitter: @DavidGSavage

    Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
     

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  7. OP
    OP
    stormcrow

    stormcrow Appreciated Participator

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    Thats very good news and very good to know. I still think it is important to protect yourself as best you can from corrupt police who are not educated about our rights and their responsibilities. I still believe that encrypting your phone and using a passcode of some kind to unlock it are absolutely necessary and in our modern world of hidden FISA courts and domestic spying programs as well as privately held corporations that function as spy organizations and peddle spyware apps for phones and computers, it is absolutely essential to protect yourself despite the supreme court's take on this. I am certainly glad to hear of this ruling. It is certainly progress, but it doen't put us back in a place where we can trust our government or its officials by any stretch of the imagination.
     
  8. Matt Derrick

    Matt Derrick StP Founder, Admin, and travel addict
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    technically, yes. there's a lot of rumors and hearsay on what phones and what mobile companies can turn on gps units remotely. personally, i do not believe that it's possible for mobile companies to turn on any gps they want; it's just not physically possible or realistic.

    What you should more realistically be worried about is triangulation via cell phone towers. Even with your gps turned off, it's pretty easy to tie down your location to within a few hundred meters. This is how law enforcement tracked cell phones of criminals before everyone had smartphones.

    The only guarantee that you're not being tracked by your cell phone is to turn it off and pull the battery out (i've had people try and tell me the government can turn on your phone with no battery in it. that's bullshit). Covering the camera is negligible. Anyone interested in tracking you or spying on you covertly is going to do so with the microphone on your phone.

    Services like google now, siri, and facebook can keep your microphone 'always on' in a way, waiting for you to utter a phrase like 'ok google' (i.e. google now) to activate the voice web search function. supposedly (i haven't read up on it i a while) the facebook app is supposed to listen to everything going on around you with the mic in your phone so they can deliver 'targeted advertising' to you while you're using their app (someone should verify this though).

    when it comes to smart phones and privacy, you really only have one option, and that's to get an android phone, root it (android's equivalent of 'jailbreaking' for the iphone), and install a custom rom image (i suggest cyanogmenmod). after this DO NOT install google apps. you'll have a phone completely free of crapware and potentially spying apps, but you'll also lose a lot of the functions that make a smartphone userful (google maps, google play/store, etc). keep in mind though that you can still be tracked by cell tower triangulation as mentioned above.

    if you have an iphone, you're fucked, even if you jailbreak it. there's just too many ways apple can track you.

    frankly, the only way to not be tracked by a cell phone is to not have one. it sucks, but it's true.

    here's another option that most don't consider though; operational security ('op sec' for short). this is the concept that you should keep certain activities separated from your daily life, kind of 'boxed off' in a way. it's becoming harder and harder to exist in today's technological society without a cell phone (or internet) that instead of worrying about being tracked all the time, you should separate your activities into groups that have no interaction with each other whatsoever.

    a good example would be, say, if you're a drug dealer. let's say you only sell pot, so you're not a bad guy, but due to the archaic nature of law enforcement's 'war on drugs' you need to take some measures to protect yourself. the best way to do this would be to use a 'burner phone' or a cheap prepaid cell phone you can get almost anywhere nowadays. turn off your personal phone or keep it on at home while you're out and about delivering your goods, and as long as neither phone calls the other, or both are on in the same vicinity as the other for significant periods of time, there's essentially no way to associate the two together for the purpose of a criminal conviction.

    take that same basic idea and apply it to computers, hacking, activism, etc... the only rule is that each part of your life can never, ever, interact with another part. don't call your friends on the burner phone, don't let your friends order pot on your personal phone.

    that's the short version. it can get way way more complicated depending on the activities you're involved with and your personal level of paranoia, but you get the idea. the idea is that they can 'track' you all they want, but what can they prove?

    i could go on for a while on this but i've ranted enough already. the short version is either ditch your cell or pretty much all your technology or divide up your activities so one can't be associated with the other. personally, i'm not the 'ditch technology' type, rather i think we need to learn to fight fire with fire.

    on a side note, if you are one of those ditch technology types, and you still want people to get a hold of you, i'd highly recommend setting up a google voice account. it's free and you'll have a voicemail that folks can get in contact with you at least.
     
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  9. Andrea Van Scoyoc

    Andrea Van Scoyoc Sock Monkey Queen

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    All this technology talk makes my head hurt.

    ::banghead::

    I just be who I am. If the government stooges ever want me for anything, it would have to be a boring day at the stockade, that's how unexciting my life is.

    Go ahead, spy on me. Just make sure you won't get fired for napping on the job.
     
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  10. OP
    OP
    stormcrow

    stormcrow Appreciated Participator

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    As far as Carriers being able to turn on and off your gps, they have no hardwired way of doing so if your phone is off, but they do have software and firmware to do so. Look into CarrierIQ. You can verify whether it is on your phone with the Logging Checker app I recommended above.

    If you are being pursued by law enforcement, the best thing you can do is ditch your phone and pick up a burner phone from Virgin Mobile or some such place, rinse and repeat often.

    I would take your advice about burner phone and regular phone separation a step further. Leave your personal phone behind when you are carrying the burner and vice versa(don't even stowe it in the same geographic location if possible). Google ads can tell when your phone is in the same geographic location as another phone and even in some apps terms of service they say they will listen from your microphone and collect data for targeted ads. I've received ads on other phones I was less careful with based on the content of a conversation I had with somebody else while they were searching that content on their phone sitting next to me. That may sound far fetched, but you will see this kind of marketing more as people agree to allow it. Currently samsung is the only company to have admitted to this kind of marketing, but google verifiable does it as well(expirment if you don't believe me).

    The NSA can access all of your google data and they routinely pass that data to lower level law enforcement agencies, so keep that in mind when your going to talk to your friends about sketchy business even in the presence of a phone. I would recommend making everybody empty their pockets and treat all cell phones the way you would a wire(if you've done nothing wrong, you have nothing to hide, right ;) ).

    All kidding aside, I am more paranoid about my devices than anybody I know in any of the circles I run with, but I am also not addicted to facebook, nor do I spend as much time idling as others that I know. All the things I mentioned above will get you reasonably protected from most adversaries(government, corporate and otherwise), but will not universally protect you from adversaries like the NSA. If you've attracted their attention, there is not much technology you can safely use.
     
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  11. Matt Derrick

    Matt Derrick StP Founder, Admin, and travel addict
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    carrier iq doesn't apply to the majority of devices in the wild. also, carrier iq is software, not firmware.

    i think that's exactly what i said :p

    signal and redphone are encryption apps for securing voice conversations that i think are worth looking into and viable in certain situations.
     
  12. Matt Derrick

    Matt Derrick StP Founder, Admin, and travel addict
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    i take that back, in a few cases it was in the firmware of handsets (google searching right now). my bad. the backlash from that has been so bad though that i seriously doubt it's being put into any new devices tho.
     
  13. OP
    OP
    stormcrow

    stormcrow Appreciated Participator

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    I was just restating what you said in a less equivocal way, thats all.

    I never said CarrierIQ is firmware, but there are potentially firmware equivalents out there are actually all of android technically functions as firmware, since the OS is flashed to the device.

    CarrierIQ is actually a brand that makes numerous solutions for all kinds of carriers and is more prevalent on Sprint and Verizon phones(which covers a lot of ground). However there are other pieces of software that do essentially the same thing. CarrierIQ is just the most famous and easy to research of this technology. It is actually outdated at this point and what is being done now is more subversive and sophisticated.

    I more or less agree with everything you said above, I just believe based on what I have seen that the carriers can do a lot more that we would like to acknowledge not limited to turning on your gps. If you remove your phone's battery there would be no known way of running gps as gps requires quite a bit of juice to run. Even triangulation would seem impossible, but even passive devices have been triangulated that way, so I would put it in the realm of possibility.
     
  14. angerisagift

    angerisagift Sir Posts a Lot

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    i just got a $5 Tracfone CHEEEEEEEEEEAP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
     
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  15. wildwerden

    wildwerden Celebrated Poster

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    ii (can't delete these damn butt texts, but my ass likes this thread)
     
    #15 wildwerden, Jul 22, 2015
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