Using a mobile phone with as much privacy as possible

A mobile phone is a traceable gadget that can trace back to you always. No mobile in this world can make you truly anonymous.

If you follow some precautions, you can make it less traceable and maintain your #privacy.

The moment a mobile phone connects to the mobile network to make a call, it sends your IMEI number to the service provider.

IMEI numbers are assigned to mobile phones by the OEMs when they manufacture them. They are hardware coded and can't be changed unless you have a unique hardware box that can flash and alter mobile chip level software.

Android IMEI changers don't work: Android has some apps that claim to change the IMEI number, but all they do is mask your IMEI number. As far as I know, you cannot alter a mobile's IMEI number without some firmware level changes via hardware like a specialized device or a computer.

Since you cannot change IMEI, the first thing you have to make sure is that no one should know that an IMEI belongs to your phone. Your phone purchase itself shouldn't be traceable back to you.

Network providers will track the sim card back to you if it's in your name.

Here are some tips that can help you make your mobile more private and secure:

Buy a phone discreetly:

“ALWAYS BUY YOUR PHONE OFFLINE!” It is probably the most essential thing to do when purchasing a mobile. Devices sold online will have the data linked to the seller's database and, in turn, with the big tech companies that mine your data from them.

Offline stores do not always ask for details when you buy a device. Make sure you buy a phone in a different city than the one you live or work in.

When you go someplace on a vacation or a trip, try to purchase a device so that it is from a city that you don't visit often.

Not everyone asks for an ID while purchasing a mobile so that you can buy one anywhere. If asked, use a fake name to buy the phone.

If your country allows the sale of burner phones (prepaid phones), get one in a fake name. It is the best option.

However, not all countries allow the sale of burner phones. So it depends on your country and its rules.

Payment mode:

Always pay full in cash. Cash is not identifiable the way a credit card or debit card is. Your cards link back to your account. It is a bad idea to buy with a card that belongs to you or your friend, family, or anyone you know.

Always deal in cash and use a fake name. That way, the deal ends the minute you pay the money and get out of there without giving any details.

Getting a SIM card:

There are some places where you can buy burner phones. In such a case, you are already in possession of a device that can make calls up to a prefixed limit/talk time. You don't need to read this section.

In case you live in a country where burner phones are not allowed/illegal, you need to get a sim card separately.

In such cases, try to get a sim with someone else's name. There are a lot of people that sell sim cards with fake identities.

You need to dig deeper on the internet on with your local tech geeks about such things. It happens in many places, so I assume it isn't that difficult to get one.

If you cannot get a sim card with a fake ID, get one in your relative's or friend's name as a last resort. That way, your identity to that sim card is not linked. [This scenario is if you cant buy one with a fake sim seller]

Keep it in airplane mode when not in use:

A mobile transmits lot of metadata about the hardware thanks to all the tracking embedded in it by design.

In case you use a dumb phone like me, chances are your mobile provider will still know your approximate area based on the network tower your phone connects to.

Always keep your mobile in airplane mode when not in use. That way, there will be a break in your tracking by the providers.

If you use #Android or #iOS, you are already giving away a lot of data to Google and Apple. Your search history, your credit cards, your address, your email, your family details, contacts, and, most importantly, your location history, all will be on Apple or Google's servers.

There is not much for you to do in iOS, but you can use Graphene OS in case you own a Pixel device.

Get a dumb phone if possible:

#Smartphones are a terrible choice when it comes to privacy. They transmit a lot of data about you even when you are asleep.

The minute your phone turns on, most metadata will be sent to the operator and the manufacturer of that device along with Google/Apple.

Dumb phones reduce that risk by only giving your metadata like IMEI, IMSC numbers, and your general location and not anything more personal.

Compartmentalize:

Keep two devices, one for work and one for the family. This a great thing to do as you won't give away your private phone number to everyone.

It also helps in keeping things isolated from one another. You can link your private number in your bank records so it isn't publicly exposed reducing the risk of being scammed.

Your public #phone number will be the one that is everywhere and with everyone. However, it won't be on your bank records, and this will help keep financial things secure and compartmentalized.

Avoid Android and iOS:

Apple and Google beat their drums about caring for the privacy of the consumers. However, they track you without your consent from the moment you switch on your mobile phone.

The world is currently having only two options for smartphones, Android, and iOS. They both can't be trusted with your #data.

Always reduce your usage for the mobile phones that are based on Android or iOS. Try to switch to Graphene OS or a #Linux based phone (Very few at the moment).

This will be better for your privacy as you won't be tracked the way you would be while using an Android or iOS phone.

Better yet, get a dumb phone as your privacy device and use an Android/iOS device only for your office and public needs.