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post #1 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-23-2017, 02:39 PM Thread Starter
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Looking for a phone plan

I have been looking for a new cell phone plan that would allow me to have NO data. I want talk and text only. I also want to keep my same phone number.

I currently have an older Blackberry smartphone with Verizon.

I'm looking at going this route from a privacy standpoint. It is my understanding that it is the data function of the phone is what makes the phones location trackable.

I have been looking at all of the major and minor carriers that I can think of over the last few weeks, but I can't find what I'm looking for. Anyone know of any options.

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post #2 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-23-2017, 03:29 PM
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Umm ... no.

ALL cell phones are trackable; how else do you think they get your communications TO you.

Also, any time someone sends more than 140 characters of text to you, you need the data plan (for MMS links).

Add to that, "voice" calls are data packets anyway (they're all digital links).

Your cell phone is trackable; if that bothers you, dump it. It's inherent in how cell phones work.

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post #3 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-23-2017, 03:49 PM
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We live in the day and age where everything is tracked, sadly. There should be a part in your settings that lets you turn of tracking, but only to a certain point. I just keep mine on airpalne mode unless I'm watching youtube or parts searching.

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post #4 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-23-2017, 03:55 PM Thread Starter
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I fully understand that it can be tracked during a call and I have no problem that. It's just when it's not being used for a call (which would be 99% of the time) I am looking to have it not be sending signals back and forth.

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post #5 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-23-2017, 04:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Thunderstruck95 View Post
I fully understand that it can be tracked during a call and I have no problem that. It's just when it's not being used for a call (which would be 99% of the time) I am looking to have it not be sending signals back and forth.
As long as it's on, it is sending some signals back and forth; that's how you can RECEIVE phone calls, the system knows where you are good enough to route to you.

You'd have to have the phone off and plan on never receiving phone calls. Or texts.

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post #6 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-23-2017, 05:05 PM
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You'll be terribly mistaken.....because being in the telecom industry and my dad having been a T-Mobile executive...I can tell you that no matter what plan you have, as long as you have a SIM card in there, they have access to the data, text, and call capabilities of that phone. Whether you purchase text only, talk only, or data only. That's only on your end, the carrier can still push out data from your phone and pull data as they desire (think OTA updates, applets, weather updates, emergency alerts, etc.)
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post #7 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-23-2017, 05:11 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by ikutoisahobo View Post
You'll be terribly mistaken.....because being in the telecom industry and my dad having been a T-Mobile executive...I can tell you that no matter what plan you have, as long as you have a SIM card in there, they have access to the data, text, and call capabilities of that phone. Whether you purchase text only, talk only, or data only. That's only on your end, the carrier can still push out data from your phone and pull data as they desire (think OTA updates, applets, weather updates, emergency alerts, etc.)
Do basic flip phones have Sim cards?

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post #8 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-23-2017, 05:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thunderstruck95 View Post
Do basic flip phones have Sim cards?
Not usually, but as was said, any cell phone is trackable whenever it is on. It doesn't matter if it's the latest iPhone, or the old Nokia brick phone from the 90's. If it is a cell phone, and it is on, and has service, they know where you are. If you are doing something that you don't want to be tracked, either turn the phone off or leave it at home.

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post #9 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-23-2017, 05:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Thunderstruck95 View Post
Do basic flip phones have Sim cards?
If they're GSM, yes. If CDMA, maybe, maybe not; but the SIM functionality is built into the phone, so it doesn't matter.

Again - they're 100% digital today. They tell the tower they're in range every so often, commonly every 30 minutes.

And by knowing which cell tower the phone is linked to, the cell provider can give a circle.

If a ping is requested by the phone, and it responds, and there's more than one tower in rage, then the provider can triangulate where you are.

I don't know why you keep insisting it's different ... might as well keep talking about the front half axles on your MN12.

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post #10 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-23-2017, 06:05 PM Thread Starter
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I don't know why you keep insisting it's different ... might as well keep talking about the front half axles on your MN12.

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I'm just trying to learn and ask queations.

I've just been thinking about my overall privacy lately and I'm exploring options for controlling the personal information I am giving out. As far as phones go, I am just asking to see if there might be a flip phone / bag phone / something that may offer better personal privacy.

I know that a cash bought "burner phone" would do the trick, but I am not looking to go that far at this time. Like I said, I'm just asking around to see if there were any options out there that I was unaware of.

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post #11 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-23-2017, 07:41 PM
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I find it very hard for them to track you if you don't carry it everywhere you go.
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post #12 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-23-2017, 08:26 PM
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I would more say it's hard for "them" to track you when everyone has a cell phone on them at all times, and so the odds of being picked to be watched is extremely low.

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post #13 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-23-2017, 08:36 PM
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Bag phones no longer work; the analog cell network was shut down years ago.

As long as it's digital, they (and by "they" I mean the cell companies, and anyone with access to their data) can locate you to within one tower of location.

Doug Clark has it right - don't carry it, and you won't be tracked.

Shucks, they can and do track the tower links on "burner" phones also. Linking them to a person isn't as easy, but ... not as hard as they show on TV.

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post #14 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-23-2017, 10:27 PM
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There's two aspects to your "privacy".

First, and the one everyone has touched on already is the ability to track your movements via your phone. Yes, it's very possible to do so. Is it worth anyone's time, most likely not. Not really worth worrying about in my opinion unless you're a criminal of some sort. Yes they "can" track you, but there's no real need to, and all those records are stored for some length of time anyway, so the point is moot. If you use the phone, they can at least track whatever towers were used to make the calls.

The second part of your privacy is your data usage. If you only want to talk/text then you're sending very limited data via the phone. It's entirely up to you whether or not you use data on your phone. You can disable mobile data on most phones, which really limits your ability to receive MMS texts, but also the ability to browse the web, etc. Sadly, every current smartphone has an always on microphone and is listening for voice queues. OK Google, Siri, etc. Again, how much data is actually recorded vs the ability to record it are things to weigh and decide on. Your old blackberry is pre-dating that kind of information, but as cell networks develop, your phone will become less and less useful.

Long story short, whether you're on your cell phone, on your computer at home, at the library, etc all your data is being tracked by someone. It's all recorded, and sifted through. 99.99% of it is worthless. I dislike the fact that it's gone through that way, but when the news came out that it was happening, there was a nationwide "meh" uttered and no one really cared.

If you want total privacy, you have to give up quite a bit. No online presence, no computer, no cellular phone, no land line, no postal service.

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post #15 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-24-2017, 12:35 AM
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Didn't you ever watch the Wire or listen to how things played our for Adnan Syed in the podcast "Serial"?

Q: How paranoid and what kind of shit are you up to?

If you want to maintain anonymous communications, the best thing you can do acquire new SIMs, new phones, and swap them often. This makes it harder for someone you want to reach you but you can use it for outbound communications. This wouldn't be that hard considering how cheap prepaid phones cost "aka burners" and they often include some amount of service. I learned this from The Wire. Just remember that you cannot just swap SIMs in the same phone as the service provider will be able to find you as they see your phones serial number (IMEI number).

If you are worried about someone finding you physically but can still reach out to a permanent identity online, an alternative is to encrypt all communications from your phone to a public service and use a VPN. Some VPNs keep no logs and accept payment for their service anonymously (ex: privateinternetaccess.com takes target gift cards). Someone could reach your online presence but would have a much harder time finding "you."
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post #16 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-24-2017, 10:03 AM
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If privacy is what you're looking for, I'd go to 7-11 and get yourself a burner phone. You buy it in cash, put minutes on it in cash, don't sign your name on anything. Ok, the underworld of society uses them, and they have some serious s**t to hide, so if it works for them not getting busted, it should definitely work for you trying to stay off the phone grid. If that doesn't work out, you can always buy an rv and move out to the desert to cook your "brownies"

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post #17 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-24-2017, 01:21 PM Thread Starter
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I'm not a drug dealer or a criminal. I am just a normal guy trying to stay aware of the personal information that I give off to anyone who is looking or would want have access to it- businesses, marketers, Google, the government, family members, ... whomever.

There is going to be a trade off between privacy and convenience. Cell phones are very handy tools. I now know that there is no way to keep the location of my personal cellular phone private. This is not the answer that I was hoping for, but I accept it.

I just hope that anyone reading this remembers to stay conscious of the personal information that they give out, even those people who say "I have nothing to hide".

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post #18 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-24-2017, 02:00 PM
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Phone companies don't need to "steal" personal information as many have already decided to hand over their personal information for free. Facebook, Instagram, Snap-chat, Google - all of it is an invasion of privacy that many have agreed to. When the service is free, YOU are the product.

If you don't think you agreed go back and read the terms of service (that no one reads). You'll find - especially with Google, that there is a fine line between ownership, license and rights. Google says they won't take your stuff but they can take whatever you create on Google (including intellectual property). Businesses that use Chrome, G-mail and Google Docs have basically give the documentation end of their business over to Google. If you think that the NSA does all their own work think again. Why spy on your people when "free" companies like Google will do it for you? It's not a problem now but someday it will be.

As for the "meh" that Woodman mentioned: it takes intelligent people that can look several steps ahead in order to conclude that the problem is a big deal. Most can't see past tomorrow. Others basically say, "I don't do anything anyway so who cares!?" Those of us that do think outside the box and can see past tomorrow ALREADY KNEW that this was happening. All you have to do is think about the money behind it. Follow the money or lack of (apparent) money. Again - when the service is free, YOU are the product.

That's why I refuse to use any Google service including Android. At least Apple and Microsoft charge money for their services and don't have to depend entirely on shady data deals with third parties or advertisement revenue for their livelihood.

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post #19 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-24-2017, 03:26 PM
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A flip phone/non-smartphone device is the only thing that will get you close to your goal. Android and iOS are 100% of the time tracking your usage and pretty much everything you do on the phone, most of it is data that they use to improve the overall experience and help those AI assistants work better and "learn" your habits. So data is ALWAYS being sent and received when the phone is powered on and not on airplane mode. They're little trackers so big brother can keep tabs on us...haha just kidding, but it's very easy for them to do so, and I wouldn't be surprised if they do. Usually they go through the proper channels and sometimes they don't. I know we used to get requests from law enforcement to pull texts, location data (emergency location service), call logs, MMS messages, etc. etc.

A flip phone or basic feature phone probably doesn't have the hardware/software capabilities for always-on microphones (although some may), or other features, it's just easier to track an Android or iOS device since they're so widespread and have a lot of open doors (through apps) to send and track info besides what Google and Apple are already tracking. A basic feature phone probably runs some proprietary OS that probably doesn't have much going on besides basic on-demand processing. SMS, MMS, Calls will still be entirely in the hands of the carrier, however, your steps, voice, habits, etc, probably won't be tracked
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post #20 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-24-2017, 04:08 PM Thread Starter
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Google/ Android is what I feel I want to avoid the most. As far as I can tell, the flip phones that Verizon offers use a Android based OS. I'm sure a simple one, but still Android...

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post #21 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-25-2017, 07:30 AM
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Google/ Android is what I feel I want to avoid the most. As far as I can tell, the flip phones that Verizon offers use a Android based OS. I'm sure a simple one, but still Android...
In the grand scheme of things it doesn't matter. Just using this forum gives google information on you, just doing ANYTHING on the internet gives them info about you. It's 2017, everyone is a metric in some pie chart.

Any phone since 2008 is digital, that means that your information is saved as a digital file on a server. They can get your call logs if they want. They can do that with an analog phone line to your house.

Just get an android phone that doesn't have the bloat ware, like a Nexus or Pixel, and opt out of data sharing when you set it up.
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post #22 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-25-2017, 09:00 AM
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Try this trick.

Buy two burner phones.
Forward the calls from one phone to the other.
Give that phone number out.
Smash that phone.
Use the second phone to receive your calls.



But seriously. As others have said. If you're a "person of interest" for any reason there's very little you can do short of moving into a cave and completely living off grid to avoid monitoring/tracking.

There are many great books on the subject of monitoring and privacy. Have you watched the Snowden movie recently or something that has piqued your interest in privacy?

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post #23 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-25-2017, 11:22 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Trunk Monkey View Post

But seriously. As others have said. If you're a "person of interest" for any reason there's very little you can do short of moving into a cave and completely living off grid to avoid monitoring/tracking.

There are many great books on the subject of monitoring and privacy. Have you watched the Snowden movie recently or something that has piqued your interest in privacy?
I disagree about needing to move into a cave to maintain basic privacy- just be conscious of your internet use, non cash purchases, and your cell phone.

I'm not looking to become this sites weirdo privacy freak; I'm just planning to getting a new phone in the near future and wanted to gather some information to make the best choice for the factors that matter to me. In this case- looking at the different levels of possible privacy.
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post #24 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-25-2017, 11:58 AM
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Oh, I understand. I'm just making a worst case scenario example.

Another option to maintain some degree of privacy in your communications is to download and use apps like Wickr or Signal and use ProtonMail. If you haven't heard of these check them out.

Still curious what got you so interested in your digital privacy. The Snowden revelations were a real eye opener for me. I always suspected as much, but when he revealed the extent of it I was really impressed.

Not only do they use legitimate cell phone towers to track everyone they also use a Trojan tower device called the Stingray. Nothing is private anymore.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stingray_phone_tracker

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post #25 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-25-2017, 02:02 PM
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So let's break down the OP's concerns about who he wants to trust
1) Security of phone itself: can be remedied with a more primitive phone or a more secure phone. Involves some level of trust with the phone OS provider
- On this point, a primitive featurephone/flip phone is the way to go for the most security (and loss of utility)
- The vast majority of these dumb phones phones are GSM so you'll need to switch to a GSM carrier like TMOBILE or AT&T (or one of their MVNOs). NOTE: you will probably want a 3G, quad band dumb phone if you use AT&T b/c they turned off their 2G network earlier this year. You can skate by with a 2G phone on TMOBILE for a few more years but you need to make sure that the 1900MHz frequency band is supported.
- the Cheapest way to get these now are with the prepaid phones (practically free) or on eBay/online from china.
- The upside is that for some simple functionality, an MVNO like TING (resells tmobile) can be very, very cheap.
https://ting.com/rates

Oh, you want internet? Now you need to trust your phone MFG/OS.
- There are some "smartphones" built to be more secure even if they are built on top of Android; this is blackberry's current selling point (what's left of it) - if you trust them.
- In general, Google can be turned to stop tracking you (https://www.cnet.com/how-to/how-to-d...ation-history/) - if you believe them.
- Ditto with Apple - How to turn off iOS 7 frequent location tracking and increase your privacy | iMore
- MSFT Win 10 offers the ability to scramble hardware addresses to make it harder to track by our WIFI MAC adddress (Ross Ulbricht probably could have used this feature. Might have helped him... for a little while) - How to stop your Windows 10 Mobile phone's location from being tracked through Wi-Fi | Windows Central. They have separate settings for what tracking they do of you -- if you believe them. If Windows 10 (PC OS) is any indication, even turning this stuff off doesn't make them NOT share data with their servers. - Windows 10 will keep spying on you no matter how hard you try to stop it ? BGR

2) Trust in phone service provider: accept that hiding his location isn't possible. Some level of anonymity may be bought if you switch phones/SIMs constantly but that is easily ignored if someone is actively targeting you.
- After all, a service provider has to know how to find you to send you incoming calls/data.

3) Trust in SW at the apps level.
- Some services (if you trust them) can offer you a fixed online presence that you can connect to in all matter of secure ways to prevent prying eyes -- if you trust those app/service providers.
- Bottom line: watch what you install.


4) Trust in other people spying on you or other sites tracking you
- In this scenario, a VPN service could help. You can use the SW the VPN provides (which requires some level of trust in them) or you some providers let you use opensource SW (if you trust noone to sneak compromising code into the SW).

Bottom line: how paranoid are you?

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I'm not looking to become this sites weirdo privacy freak;
Too late

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