Welcome to the Privacy Action Plan!
The Basics
Passwords, Password Manager & 2 Factor
Private & Secure Communications
Private & Secure Money
Privacy Phones (CalyxOS)

Introduction to Privacy Phones

Like it or not, most of us are cyborgs.

We are connected, man and machine. And that machine is a phone.

Our phones have become integral with our lives. Honestly, how far away from your phone are you, ever?

Phones are wonderful tools. They allow us to communicate with anyone at any time. They are our TVs, stereos, calculators, toys and so much more.

But they also betray us. They sell us out. They tell on us, report on us and they may even record us.

For as useful as our phones are to us, they are even more useful to Big Tech and Big Brother, who have teamed up to watch us, track us and record everything we do online without our knowledge or consent.

Why? Because information is power. When Big Tech or Big Brother have information about you, they have power over you. And they have mastered the ability to use this power to influence you every day without your knowledge. That is why Big Tech companies are bigger, wealthier and more powerful than any companies in history.

But remember that…

Privacy is your right and you need to protect it.

Privacy allows you to be who you are. To freely explore and discuss ideas and be weird without worrying about other people’s judgements. Privacy is important for self discovery and relationship building. Privacy is essential to living free.

More than this, privacy is essential for living in a democracy, or more accurately, a Constitutional Republic. Without privacy, we will lose our freedom.

Since phones are so important to us, we need to learn how to lock down our privacy and security. But be warned, locking down your privacy and security comes at a price. Big Tech companies have mastered the art of seducing you with the latest and greatest gadgets and countless apps that will suck you into their world. Once you are captured, you hand over all your information.

Becoming private and secure requires some sacrifice. Many apps are Trojan horses and they steal information from you. Some of these apps may be your favorite games. But why does a game need to know your location, your contact information, details about your phone, what other apps you are running, what WIFI networks you are near, who you communicate with and what you purchase?

They don’t NEED this information, but they desperately want this information.

The networks you use, such as Verizon or AT&T record your online browser activities because they are now legally allowed to sell it – and they do. Soon your browser search history will be attached to your credit report.

Google, which owns the Android operating system, owns 87% of the global phone market, while Apple owns 22% of the market.

Google, of course, uses it’s operating system to get as much data from everyone as possible, and they allow other companies (and countries) to collect as much data as they want. Remember, Google’s business model is based on advertising. So they are dependent upon this data collection.

For years, Apple has taken a different route. Apple is not an advertising company. Instead they make money by selling their products and by taking a cut of all apps sold to iPhones. So this has allowed them to attack Google’s business model by focusing on privacy. For years Apple has doubled down on privacy, and it has worked.

People WANT privacy.

Apple has made huge gains over the past five years because of this approach. But all the trust they have earned regarding privacy went out the window recently.

🍎 Apple = Disappointment.

This past week, Apple made an announcement that it will start scanning all pictures uploaded to iCloud. Here’s how it was reported…

There are two main features that the company is planning to install in every Apple device. One is a scanning feature that will scan all photos as they get uploaded into iCloud Photos to see if they match a photo in the database of known child sexual abuse material (CSAM) maintained by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC). The other feature scans all iMessage images sent or received by child accounts — that is, accounts designated as owned by a minor — for sexually explicit material, and if the child is young enough, notifies the parent when these images are sent or received. (source)

That sounds good, right? Who doesn’t want to stop child sexual abuse material? But just like politicians who put patriotic sounding names on invasive new laws, this move by Apple affects much more. In fact, it changes everything. This change opens the door for all sorts of other surveillance. Now that the system is built, it can be used to scan all other messages.

In other words, Apple can’t be trusted anymore. This is very disappointing. It’s a huge setback for privacy and for individual freedom.

Why would they do this?

I personally believe that this move has been forced on them by the government. I think this for two reasons. First, one of Apple’s main competitive advantages over Google is privacy, which is a weak point that Google cannot overcome. Apple has been doubling down on “Apple = Privacy” for years and it has paid off with huge sales and tremendous trust. This latest move does nothing to increase their market share, and in fact they will most likely see a marked decline after this. And it also shatters the trust they have earned. This is a bad move for Apple any way you look at it.

The second reason I think it was forced on them by the government is that the NSA does NOT like encryption, or anything to do with privacy. They want to scan and monitor everything you do, and they will not let Apple lock them out.

So what can you do?

It’s seriously time to look at alternatives to Apple.

But Google is even worse than Apple.

Dumb phones may seem like the obvious alternative, but they are not geared for privacy.

What we need is a privacy-oriented phone, but unfortunately, this is harder than it sounds. Not only is it hard to find a privacy-oriented phone, but your efforts to be private could be turned against you.

For example, for the past few years a privacy-oriented phone was marketed called the ANOM Phone. This phone was primarily sold in Australia, and as it turns out, it was actually not private at all. In fact, it was a “honeypot” phone, which means that while it bills itself as a privacy-oriented phone, it is, in fact, specifically designed to spy on you, care of the FBI and the Australian government. The news on this just broke a couple months ago.

Enter, the Freedom Phone.

The Freedom Phone is a brand new phone that is billed as a privacy-oriented phone and is primarily targeted to Conservatives. Top influencers, such as Candice Owens, are strongly recommending this phone, and sales for this phone have gone through the roof!

The reasons for this explosion are clear, 1) people are begging for privacy, which is a great thing (but misplaced with this phone), and 2) FreedomPhone has powerful commissions, which have proven to be very attractive for influencers (but they will regret it!).

I can’t say this strongly enough, do NOT get the Freedom Phone!

I have no proof that this is another honeypot phone, but I can tell you that there are a TON of red flags that scream that something nefarious is going on. For example…

  • No technical data. There is no technical data about the phone or the operating system. Nothing. Nada. Zero. Any legit privacy oriented company is very clear about detailing all the specifics about the claims they make.
  • It’s not open source. In fact, we know nothing about this operating system.
  • There has been no independent verification. Let me be clear, there is no legit security researcher who is going to claim that software is private or secure if the software and hardware can’t be independently verified. No one has vetted this software, so I don’t trust anything they say.
  • Wild claims. The privacy industry is a very technical industry that is put under very close scrutiny. If you look at serious privacy companies, such as ProtonMail or Tutanota, they are very clear with their claims. They are exact in their language. But the Freedom Phone makes wild, ridiculous claims without backing them up.
  • The Freedom Phone came out of nowhere. There has been no talk about this phone or the founder in privacy and security forums online before the phone was released. It took everyone by surprise, and they have not made any efforts to back up their claims.
  • Erik Finman is not credible. The company founder is not a tech entrepreneur, but rather he is a good marketer who tapped into the strong desire people have for freedom and privacy right now.

At the very least, in my opinion, the Freedom Phone is a scam. At the worst, it is another honeypot phone put out by the FBI that is specifically created to monitor Conservatives.

So what to do?

Honestly, it is a challenge.

Apple is not the solution.

Google is not the solution…or is it?

The Android operating system created by Google has the advantage of being an open source program. This means that anyone can look at the programing code and modify it and use it themselves. Programmers can look at the code, see what parts of it communicate with Google and remove those pieces of code.

There are a number of mobile operating systems that are de-Googled versions of Android, such as LineageOS, Calyx OS, GraphineOS, PureOS, etc.

In our opinion, CalyxOS is the way to go.

CalyxOS is a de-Googled Android mobile operating system that puts privacy and security in the hands of everyday users. It provides proactive security recommendations and automatic updates that takes the guesswork out of your personal privacy.

We have created videos for each section, so you can go step by step:

  • The first video is about the “Prerequisites” you need to get started.
  • The second video is “Preparing your Android Device”. It explains the steps to ensure the installation was successful.
  • The third video is “Preparing your Computer and Downloading the CalyxOS image”. This lesson will show you how to prepare your computer to download the CalyxOS software on it.
  • The fourth video is “Installing CalyxOS”. This video is about installing Calyx once we have everything set up.

Here is a quick video to let you know more about CalyxOS.

The other way to get a Calyx Phone is to buy a preloaded phone from the Calyx Institute. As I stated, I would not recommend that you buy a preloaded phone from anyone else, but I trust the Calyx institute, so I would feel comfortable buying from them.

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