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

We Have Lots of Encrypted Chat Capabilities, Why Not Add Encrypted Calls?

If encryption works for text-based chat, voice seems like a natural extension. If only it were that easy. Encrypted voice calls can circumvent government wiretaps, or criminal snooping. But a host of technical challenges with facilitating the calls themselves has slowed the spread of voice over internet protocol overall. You can read the details in an article by Lily Hay Newman in Wired at However, encrypted voice applications do […]

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Who Did You Say Is Listening to My Cell Phone Calls?

The Ooma Blog has a short article that explains how anyone who knows your cell phone number has the ability to hear your calls, read your texts, and track your location (even if GPS is turned off). I suggest this article be required reading for anyone who is concerned about privacy and does not want anyone listening in. The article is obviously designed to promote Ooma’s VoIP telephone service, which is encrypted. […]

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Make Encrypted Voice Calls Using Telegram

Telegram is introducing the ability to make encrypted voice calls. It offers end-to-end encryption, meaning it is super secure. The Telegram interface is both familiar and easy to use. However, Telegram’s voice calling capabilities offer two major innovations over most of the competition: end-to-end encryption and granular control. Telegram puts you, the user, in charge of who can and cannot call you. This precision control means you can turn voice […]

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How the US Secret Service Breaks into Smart Phones

There is an interesting article about cell phone privacy and security at One thing in the article surprised me: “A cheaper phone that might be less popular, it seems like it’d be easier for the vendors to get into it,” says Darnell of the Secret Service phone lab. “But it’s actually quite the opposite.” I think I’ll go out today and buy a cheap cell phone.

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Telemarketing Firm Leaks 400,000 Recorded Calls

Now THIS is unusual! But it is a huge security and privacy leak nonetheless. More than 400,000 audio files associated with a Florida company’s telemarketing efforts were stored online in the clear, and were discovered earlier this month by researchers at MacKeeper. More than 17,600 of those audio recordings were customer transactions that included names, addresses, and credit card and CVV information of those called.

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Using a Cell Phone Number as Your Primary Contact Number Does Not Need to be a Privacy Risk

There is an article on the WAFF web site that claims using a cell phone as your only telephone number can be a potential privacy risk. I sort of disagree. I guess I need to explain “sort of.” First of all, millions of Americans have only one telephone: their cell phones. They no longer have old-fashioned landline phones provided by the local Baby Bell company. I am one of those […]

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Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint Reported Almost Three-Times the Number of Wiretaps that Were Listed in the Government’s Official Report

Somebody is obviously lying here. I wonder who that is? Zack Whittaker has published an article in ZDNet that says the number of wiretaps authorized in 2015, which allow the authorities real-time access to communications, stood at 4,148 wiretaps, up by 17 percent from a year ago. Not a single wiretap request was rejected during the year.

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Beware of Privacy Issues with Skype

Skype was a wonderful decentralized peer-to-peer system that allowed voice calls between computers anywhere in the world. It even encrypted the voice conversations, making it difficult for anyone else to tap in and listen. Unfortunately, I have to say it “was a wonderful decentralized peer-to-peer system” as things have now changed. Worst of all, privacy and security seem to have suffered. Microsoft purchased Skype in May 2011 for $8.5 billion. […]

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Skype for Web (& Chromebooks) adds New Features

Skype (which is NOT the most secure or private telephone service) has long been popular with computer users. However, it previously was not available for the very popular Chromebook computers. Even on Windows and Macintosh, Skype required installation of software on the computer, something that many people are reluctant to do. Some company-owned computers are prohibited from having “non-approved” software installed. A new update of Skype for Web has made […]

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