Quest for a private and/or pseudonymous smartphone

Discussion in 'privacy problems' started by JackReacher, Dec 19, 2013.

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  1. JackReacher

    JackReacher Registered Member

    Mar 17, 2012
    South of the North Pole
    So lately I have been trying to figure out whether it is possible/practical to setup an android smartphone (and use it) to be fairly private and not directly or explicitly connected to my real identity. I am not going to be doing anything highly illegal and I don't expect to be a targeted by an adversary. I just want a phone/net connection that protects me from un-targeted surveillance/tracking (e.g. NSA profiling, advertisers, Google, etc).

    The phone's Internet connection will be my primary connection while I travel across the country.

    So far I have decided to purchase the Nexus 5 handset and install an open source custom rom such as Cyanogenmod. The phone will be purchased using cash or visa gift cards (no name associated). I will be using T-mobile prepaid service (and won't need to provide billing info).

    In this way I can have a phone/net connection that is not linked to my true identity. I plan to use a VPN on top of this, limit the apps I get, limit their permissions, and use strategies to avoid tracking.

    My question is whether you all think it is possible to use the phone to its (near) full potential and remain (mostly) pseudonymous.

    my concerns are that social networking, internet browsing, signing into accts online will compromise my psuedonymity.

    Any thoughts on the matter? anyone tried to undertake this project? More than just answering my question, I would love to get a conversation started on the topic.
  2. J_L

    J_L Registered Member

    Nov 6, 2009
  3. PaulyDefran

    PaulyDefran Registered Member

    Dec 1, 2011
    Will your phone ever be on, at your house? That ties IMEI, IMSI, etc... to a local tower. The more times it hits, the greater that that phone "lives" in the area.

    Connected to your WiFi? Identifying "bits" may flow out of your ISP assigned IP address = your billing info.

    Not to discourage, by all means you're on the right track - just realize that keeping it totally separate is VERY hard. Read up on AFWall+, XPrivacy, Host Name Changer, AdAway through F-Droid. The MAC can't be changed on the N5 yet, unfortunately - no app that worked on the GNex or N7's can do it on the N5, and neither can Terminal Commands, that I have tried. So turn WiFi off when out and about (unless you connect to networks that aren't your own - I don't).
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