Volunteers Around the World Build Surveillance-Free Cellular Network Called ‘Sopranica’

Most people in the United States—and increasingly, around the world—carry the most sophisticated surveillance devices ever created in their pockets day in and day out. Although smartphones have enabled governments and corporations to track our movements and monitor our conversations with unprecedented ease, these devices are also an incredibly useful personal tool and have become an indispensable part of modern life.

Sopranica is a do-it-yourself grass roots project to create a competitive community-oriented cell phone network. “Sopranica is a project intended to replace all aspects of the existing cell phone network with their freedom-respecting equivalents,” says Denver Gingerich, the programmer behind Sopranica. “Taking out all the basement firmware on the cellphone, the towers that track your location, the payment methods that track who you are and who owns the number, and replacing it so we can have the same functionality without having to give up all the privacy that we have to give up right now. At a high level, it’s about running community networks instead of having companies control the cell towers that we connect to.”

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How Apps Use Your Photos to Track Your Location

Are you sharing photos online? If so, you might want to consider how much of your privacy and the privacy of your family you are giving up.

Felix Krause’s iOS app DetectLocations shows you just how much apps can learn about your past (and future) location through your photos’ EXIF data. Grant it camera access and it will show you where you took all your photos, whether you were in a vehicle when you took them, and your likely routes between each photo location.

You can limit access to past photo data by moving everything out of your camera roll before you grant an app permission. But that won’t stop an app from spying on any photos going forward.

Details may be found in an article by Nick Douglas in the LifeHacker web site at: http://bit.ly/2yKi8r0.

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly’s Personal Cell Phone was Compromised

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly’s personal cell phone was compromised back in December. Details may be found at: http://politi.co/2xIbaTX.

Actually, this shouldn’t surprise anyone. I hope it didn’t surprise John Kelly although I suspect it may have. Everyone should be aware that EVERY unencrypted cell phone can be hacked. The higher your position in government, military, sports, the entertainment industry, or in the business world, the greater the odds that someone is monitoring your calls and the web sites you visit with your smartphone. Those listening might be foreign governments, our own NSA, the FBI, local police departments, business competitors, identity thieves, or (in the case of celebrities) various gossip magazines and newspapers.

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Microsoft Is Using Cortana To Read Your Private Skype Conversations

Are you using Skype? If so, perhaps you should switch to something that is more secure.

Brian Fagioli shares a report from BetaNews:

“So, here’s the deal, folks. In order for this magical “in-context” technology to work, Cortana is constantly reading your private conversations. If you use Skype on mobile to discuss private matters with your friends or family, Cortana is constantly analyzing what you type. Talking about secret business plans with a colleague? Yup, Microsoft’s assistant is reading those too. Don’t misunderstand — I am not saying Microsoft has malicious intent by adding Cortana to Skype; the company could have good intentions. With that said, there is the potential for abuse. Microsoft could use Cortana’s analysis to spy on you for things like advertising or worse, and that stinks. Is it really worth the risk to have smart replies and suggested calendar entries? I don’t know about you, but I’d rather not have my Skype conversations read by Microsoft.”

Brian Fagioli’s complete report may be found at: https://slashdot.org/~BrianFagioli.

As Elites Switch to Texting, Watchdogs Fear Loss of Transparency

From an article by Kevin Roose in the New York Times:

“Secure messaging apps like WhatsApp, Signal and Confide are making inroads among lawmakers, corporate executives and other prominent communicators. Spooked by surveillance and wary of being exposed by hackers, they are switching from phone calls and emails to apps that allow them to send encrypted and self-destructing texts. These apps have obvious benefits, but their use is causing problems in heavily regulated industries, where careful record-keeping is standard procedure.

“‘By and large, email is still used for formal conversations,’ said Juleanna Glover, a corporate consultant based in Washington. ‘But for quick shots, [secure] texting is the medium of choice.'”

Also:

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Signal Private Messenger for Safe and Secure Text, Voice, and Video Messaging

“Privacy is possible. Signal makes it easy.”

Signal is a very popular safe and secure replacement for cell phone text messaging systems. Best of all, it is available FREE of charge. If you have an Android device, an iPhone, an iPad, or an iPod Touch, Signal will supplement or replace your present text messaging app. Your cell phone will continue to send and receive normal text messages as it always has plus it will now securely send and receive private, encrypted text messages to and from anyone else who is using Signal.

Millions of cell phone users have installed Signal and use it every day to keep their communications secure and away from prying eyes. Users include many senior politicians in Washington, business professionals, newspaper reporters, movie stars, sports professionals, and private individuals alike worldwide. It blocks credit card thieves, identity thieves, nosey neighbors, and (probably) government agencies from tapping into your private communications.

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