Privacy Blog

"Friends don’t let friends get spied on.' – Richard Stallman, President of the Free Software Foundation and longtime advocate of privacy in technology.

Telephone Security

NSA says Searches of Americans’ Data without a Warrant Spiked in 2017

Do you feel like someone is spying on you? Your hunch might be correct. An article by Zack Whittaker in the ZDnet web site says, “The agency collected a staggering 534 million domestic phone records last year, up threefold on the year earlier.” The article also states, “According to the figures [released on Friday], 7,512 Americans had their calls and messages searched without a warrant, up by 42 percent on […]

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Perhaps the Most Secure “Burner Phone” of All?

Politicians, business executives, movie stars, professional athletes, and anyone else concerned with their personal privacy might want to have a second cell phone in addition to their primary phone. The second cell phone often is called a “burner phone.” It can be used to hide sensitive information from news reporters, overseas hackers, government agencies, business competitors, law enforcement personnel, Border Patrol, or from a curious spouse! See my earlier article, […]

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Michael Cohen had 16 Cell Phones Seized by the FBI

I’m jealous! Security experts often advise politicians, business executives, movie stars, professional athletes, and others to always have a second cell phone in addition to their primary phone. The second phone, sometimes called “a burner phone,” should receive little use. The owner is advised to use it only when he or she might want to hide something from law enforcement personnel or Border Patrol or perhaps is in danger of […]

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Without Encryption, It’s So Easy for Anyone to Eavesdrop on Your Phone Calls

An interesting article by Dennis Peng can be found in the Ooma Blog. The article talks mostly about hackers and governments listening to your cell phone and wired telephone calls. Amongst other things, the article states, “There is a backdoor built into every cell phone call. It can be accessed by intelligence agencies, hackers, or anyone with your telephone number.” As to old-fashioned wired telephones, Peng writes, “Every day, collection […]

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How to Fight Mass Surveillance even though Congress just Reauthorized It

Bruce Schneier is a security technologist and a lecturer at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He is also the Chief Technical Officer at IBM Resilient, a fellow at Harvard’s Berkman Center, and a board member of EFF. Indeed, he is one of the leading experts in the field of computer security. He recently published an article in The Washington Post that describes the problems and the risks […]

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Why Do You Have Two Telephone Numbers? Use an Amazon Echo Instead.

According to a recently published U.S. Health Department report at http://bit.ly/2icwvuw, 50.8 percent of American homes don’t have a landline telephone. Instead, the residents use a cellphone as their only phone or use a computerized VoIP phone or other, alternative telephone device. The number of landlines in homes has declined in recent years and apparently will continue to fall. There’s simply no need to have both an old-fashioned wired home […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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Court rules Stingray use Without a Warrant Violates Fourth Amendment

The Washington DC Court of Appeals overturned a Superior Court conviction of a man who was located by police using a cell-site simulator, or Stingray. The court ruled that the defendant’s Fourth Amendment rights were violated when law enforcement tracked down the suspect using his own cell phone without a warrant. Stingrays work by pretending to be a cell tower and once they’re brought close enough to a particular phone, […]

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Things You Don’t See Anymore

An article in the BBC News web site points out one major change in lifestyles in the past decade: the number of U.S. homes that have an old-fashioned, wired telephone obtained from the local telephone company has now dropped to less than 50%. That is a number that few people would have dreamed of ten years ago. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) surveyed thousands of Americans and […]

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