[Freedom-misc] Mobile Devices Respecting Software Freedom (follow-up)

mcz at ruggedinbox.com mcz at ruggedinbox.com
Tue Sep 18 12:49:18 CEST 2018

*privacy and smartphones (and emails)*

I use a smartphone for work anyway. It seems inevitable for most people.
Giving up such technology on a massive scale is unthinkable, and not a  

At all times,
- I give away my location (a faraday pouch doesn't change this much).
- I give away who I'm talking to, what I'm talking about. Cam and mic could  
potentially be accessed. "La vie des autres".
- Self-censorship is inevitable. Either that or online exhibitionism (though  
it doesn't appear that way since everyone does it).
- Los Otros: people will send you the occasional youtube video link, or take  
a picture and put it on social media (whether I own a phone or not), etc.
   It seems ridiculously unimportant, but small data adds up to more revealing  
data by crossreferencing.

*What can be done*
- Data leakage can be reduced, hardly eliminated. It's about taking some  
unwanted listeners out of the game.
   A vpn, encrypted libre apps, Replicant or LineageOS. Offline apps  
(hopefully with libre sandbox, if that exists).
   The type of apps: only keep the strict minimum. It's a tool, not a toy.
- Having a Faraday pouch around (phone in airplane mode to keep battery),  
though with limited location data, trajectories can be deduced.
   Still, being temporarily off the grid is kind of possible.

- We're all wired as long as a phone is around. Everybody has a mic and a  
cam. Even if you don't have a phone, you're wired anyway at times.
- I prefer to keep really personal actions out of the phone
   - purchases (edit: actually it's the same as on a libre machine, so it's OK  
I guess)
   - photos (yikes !)
   - music (ipod and such with Rockbox)
   - ereader

*Addendum: Emails*
- I'd rather treat my personal email account as pseudo personal, just like  
the smartphone, but paradoxically with much more personal data given away.
   I'd rather limit any personal talk to Ring (not perfect on nonfree OS) or  
face to face talk (ideally with no phones around).
- emails are nearly the same as communication apps (like Whatsapp. Signal is  
better though, but getting people to switch is unlikely).
   Unless all parties communicate with libre OS, libre hardware, libre  
decentralised provider, and with encryption (any degree of this is welcome),
   setting all this for others is complicated on a bigger scale. Yet we can  
work toward this goal. Every bit counts.

- I can reach and be reached. Like normal people, yaaay! (damn social  
- I can use some useful tools (say, WayGo).
- If really needed, I can get any useful data giving away my location  
(weather, transport paths, etc.), since using a phone gives it away anyway.
- Orbot is useable, so I guess it's even fine to browse the web. Well, I'd  
avoid more sensitive stuff (like reading the news) on a non-Replicant phone  
(keyloggers etc.).
- Even social media apps on the phone could be used, as long as the goal is  
to have a simple way to arrange a meeting.
   less is more. Nearly everything else should be done IRL, IMO. YMMV (mmmh,  
acronyms). IRL, or on an offline device, or a libre PC.

What do you think? Any mistake in my reasoning?

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