Mobile Phone Privacy
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Mobile Phone Privacy

Mobile Phone Privacy

I know there are tons of articles and resources regarding mobile phone privacy, so here's one more (lol).  There are a variety of different ways that one can go about mobile phone privacy, and everything depends on the individuals threat models.

The specific hardware I'm going to be talking about is the google pixel, as you can unlock the bootloader, flash custom ROM's on it, and then relock the bootloader.

First you're going to have to get yourself a google pixel of any flavor, if you plan to go the route of an anonymous sim card, grab a pixel for cash at a best buy (don't forget your hat and mask, you know, for covid or whatever), or check out p2p marketplaces like this one and buy one using bitcoin or monero, if you plan to use a sim tied to your identity you can skip this step. If you're instersted in the unique identifiers your phone gives off check this out from the Calyx Institute.

It's a good idea to check out support lengths for your selected operating system, I've attached the CalyxOS device support timeline below as that's the operating system I use and will be covering in this post. Check graphene out here. I've personally used the pixel 4a for about a year and am currently in the process of upgrading to the 6a.

CalyxOS Device Support Length

It's also important to ensure that the phone you get is unlocked so that you can unlock the bootloader and flash Calyx onto the device.

Now that you have your phone you have to flash it. Head over to Calyx's Website and select the device you're flashing, and download the latest CalyxOS release for that device. I'm going to be showing some screengrabs from the 6a installation on calyx's website as it's the newest.

Choose your device model

Once you've selected your device pick what operating system you're going to be using for the install. In the picture below you can safely ignore the warning as long as you haven't upgraded your phone to android 13, as the Pixel 6a ships with Android 12.

Pick your installation OS

Once you've picked the operating system you're going to install from take a look at the guide and just run through it step by step, pretty straight forward and easy with a lot of copy pasta commandline commands.

The step by step

Once you finish the step by step on calyx's website you've laid the foundations, there are a few more things to do now. If you plan to use your existing sim card you can ignore the next step.

Head to Walmart and pick up an AT&T prepaid sim card kit for cash, once you activate it you can head to Bitrefill and refill the sim by selecting the listing called AT&T Pin refill.

AT&T Sim
AT&T PIN Refill on Bitrefill

Now that you've got the operating system flashed and a sim in the phone there are a few other apps that are really beneficial.

  • Insular allows you to create a work profile that is great to use with Banking apps, social media (if you haven't already abandoned it) and other potentially insecure apps. Insular allows you to deactivate the work profile when not in use to ensure those big brother apps aren't running in the background.
  • Firewall is an app that comes stock with CalyxOS, it allows you to turn off background network access and control what internet access apps get.
Firewall app on Calyx
  • Mullvad VPN is my vpn of choice due to their randomized number account model and the fact that you can pay with bitcoin, download it from F-droid.
  • Aurora Store is an anonymous google play store client for the people who can't go without social media or banking apps (make sure to place them in the work profile so you can deactivate them when you're not using.)
  • There are a ton of other great apps I'm not going to cover in detail here, but check them out over at x21.tools, will update with link when its back up.
  • Of course I won't skip over my bitcoin wallet of choice, Samourai Wallet, get it on f-droid, and feel free to have a scan of my dojo if you don't have your own.

Check out this post and others on my ghost https://sovereignbitco.in

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