How to be free

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rcl
rcl
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Joined: 11/20/2016

After reading about the situation with mobile phones and free software, I've come to the conclusion that they are trackers. How can I live without a mobile phone then? Is it inconvenient?
I like using bluetooth earphones or headphones on the go. I am thinking of carrying a computer folded in a backpack, running free software and supplying me with audio via bluetooth. Is there an obvious reason why this would not work?
Is there a e ink device that respects our freedom as users? Can we modify a Amazon Swindle to be 100% percent sure it runs only free software and it doesnt do anything nasty? Could we buy an e ink device with only free software directly?

Max Stirner
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Joined: 06/05/2017

I'm in my 20's, owned a Samsung Galaxy S3 with Replicant for a month, then did away with it for these same concerns. In my entire life, that is the only time I've owned a smartphone, and I'm fine without it.

Have also been without Facebook for almost a year.

As for the eink device. I looked into that myself one time, I don't think there are any that fit the criteria. I'd really like one too though, so if you learn anything, let me know.

rcl
rcl
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Joined: 11/20/2016

But do you have any other type of phone?

Ignacio.Agullo
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On 09/08/17 12:52, wrote:
> I'm 24, owned a Samsung Galaxy S3 with Replicant for a month, then did
> away with it for these same concerns. In my entire life, that is the
> only time I've owned a smartphone, and I'm fine without it.

What a mistake. Replicant is the solution, not the problem.

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Ignacio Agulló · name at domain

albertoefg
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Joined: 04/21/2016

What a mistake, cellphones are tracking devices, they can be tracked even if they are not smartphones, companies and government can know where is your phone all the time.

Replicant is just a libre operating system but it won't stop government tracking.

The same way a libre operating system with a libre browser won't stop government or your ISP from tracking you.

Ignacio.Agullo
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Joined: 09/29/2009

On 09/08/17 18:34, wrote:
> What a mistake, cellphones are tracking devices, they can be tracked
> even if they are not smartphones, companies and government can know
> where is your phone all the time.

They can only track the "cell" where you are. That's not much.

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Ignacio Agulló · name at domain

happy_gnu
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Joined: 08/06/2017

You are... Wrong again :/

From Wikipedia https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobile_phone_tracking

Mobile phone tracking is the ascertaining of the position or location of a mobile phone, whether stationary or moving. Localization may occur either via multilateration of radio signals between (several) cell towers of the network and the phone, or simply via GPS. To locate a mobile phone using multilateration of radio signals, it must emit at least the roaming signal to contact the next nearby antenna tower, but the process does not require an active call. 

I recommend you to read the "Privacy" section of that Wikipedia article.

You should also watch this video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gv7Y0W0xmYQ

This one

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6M5wjT8McHQ

This one:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gb4tAFEP1H0

And also learn about the SS7 vulnerability:

Signalling System No. 7 - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Signalling_System_No._7?wprov=sfla1

Protocol security vulnerabilities
Several SS7 vulnerabilities that allow cell phone users to be secretly tracked were publicized in 2008. In 2014, the media reported a protocol vulnerability of SS7 by which both government agencies and non-state actors can track the movements of cell phone users from virtually anywhere in the world with a success rate of approximately 70%

SS7 hack explained: what can you do about it? | Technology | The Guardian - https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/apr/19/ss7-hack-explained-mobile-phone-vulnerability-snooping-texts-calls

Ignacio.Agullo
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Joined: 09/29/2009

On 09/08/17 21:51, wrote:
> You are... Wrong again :/

Haha, I cannot be wrong again when I was never wrong in the first
place.

--
Ignacio Agulló · name at domain

Magic Banana

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Even Paul Kocialkowski, Replicant's main developer, explains in his conferences that the best solution, in terms of freedom, is to not use cell phones: https://redmine.replicant.us/projects/replicant/wiki/Conferences

Ignacio.Agullo
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Joined: 09/29/2009

On 10/08/17 02:17, wrote:
> Even Paul Kocialkowski, Replicant's main developer, explains in his
> conferences that the best solution, in terms of freedom, is to not use
> cell phones:
> https://redmine.replicant.us/projects/replicant/wiki/Conferences

Ha. Because using fixed phones is better. Come on guys, we aren't
talking at a bar. This is Internet. All of us are connected through
either landlines or microwaves. Which one tracks you to the more exact
location?

--
Ignacio Agulló · name at domain

Soon.to.be.Free
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Joined: 07/03/2016

*If* you're making a call, the landline might- but that's not the point.

If an individual leaves the house with their cell phone and goes on an outing, the amount of information they have provided to their local telecommunications company is staggering. Firstly, the location metadata. Not literally pin-pointing an individual doesn't make this weaker:
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-24/metadata-what-you-found-will-ockenden/6703626
Then, if a modem rootkit is available, anything from audio recordings to gyro or whatnot data- which may very well be sufficient to determine what you type on a keyboard- become available, even if you haven't decided to take a single call. With a landline, by contrast, the most that can be determined is whether or not you have taken any calls placed through, and whether or not you placed any calls: much more reasonable.

Of course, the mobile's disadvantage is somewhat the cost of being able to connect whilst moving. However, apart from the obvious fact that this doesn't make it any less surveilling, the network could likely be done slightly better.

strypey
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"With a landline, by contrast, the most that can be determined is whether or not you have taken any calls placed through, and whether or not you placed any calls"

Actually, the only thing that can be determined by default is whose name the landline is registered in, and that *someone* received a call on that landline, and from what phone number, or that *someone* made a call from that landline, and the number called (unless there is a human listening in who knows your voice, or a *very* impressive voice-recognition algorithm). Of course police and other state agencies have long-standing powers to tap people's phones, record their conversations, and so on, and in many countries (including mine) these powers have recently been significantly expanded to allow state agents to tap directly into telecoms systems, and monitor people's call without reasonable suspicion ('probably cause' in legal jargon) or a warrant.

I agree though that using a cell phone adds to your attack surface, and using a handheld computer as a cell phone adds significantly more, and that we're only just beginning to figure out how to mitigate this. Ultimately it comes down to a cost/benefit analysis; do the benefits you gain from using a cell phone (or a "smartphone") outweigh the costs of making it much easier to track and spy on you?

I do currently use an old school dumbphone for voice calls and texts (SMS), but I treat it as the tracking device it is, and turn it off or leave it behind as appropriate (although this too has some risk of attracting unwanted attention just as using PGP for email does). I have a couple of second-hand Android devices, which are useful for quick net tasks while traveling like checking directions or finding a cafe that serves vegan food, but I only turn them on when I need them, and I don't usually put a SIM card in them.

Onsemeliot
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Joined: 09/09/2011

> I am thinking of carrying a computer folded in a backpack, running free software and supplying me with audio via bluetooth.

So you want to use voice over ip or wouldn't it be a problem for you to not being reachable via mobile calls? I didn't have a mobile for years when everybody else had one. And I did like it. Unfortunately my boss is insisting that I carry such a tracking device with me because he wants to reach me and I should check if the web pages we create run smoothly on such devices also. I didn't object since he is paying the bill. But I would like to get rid of my mobile again as soon as this isn't the case any more.

I didn't miss the opportunity to call people on the move before mobile phones where common. And I am still not convinced if they cause more good than harm.

rcl
rcl
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Joined: 11/20/2016

I think it would be interesting to live without a phone. I would just send emails

Legimet
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As for E-Ink devices, there is a Debian-based free software (with the exception of the WiFi firmware, which you can remove) stack for Kobo e-readers: https://github.com/lgeek/okreader. I think that is probably the best option. I am planning to get one of these for myself.

jxself
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Joined: 09/13/2010

"How can I live without a mobile phone then? Is it inconvenient?"

It may not be convenient but Stallman does it, so it is clearly doable. He gets around the entire planet on his various speaking trips without a cell phone.

"I like using bluetooth earphones or headphones on the go. I am thinking of carrying a computer folded in a backpack, running free software and supplying me with audio via bluetooth. Is there an obvious reason why this would not work?"

I think that would work very well. You may also want to look into https://jmp.chat/ which is run by our very own free software person Denver Gingerich. You get a phone number, and do your calls using XMPP/Jabber.

Denver gave a talk about this at the FSF's yearly LibrePlanet conference this last March. It was called "A fully-free cell phone experience, no baseband required" and can be seen at https://media.libreplanet.org/u/libreplanet/m/a-fully-free-cell-phone-experience-no-baseband-required/

rcl
rcl
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Joined: 11/20/2016

That's very interesting. I wonder if it works in China, where now it is mandatory to identify yourself before buying a SIM card.

Ignacio.Agullo
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On 09/08/17 20:06, wrote:
> That's very interesting. I wonder if it works in China, where now it
> is mandatory to identify yourself before buying a SIM card.

Only China? In Europe too...

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Ignacio Agulló · name at domain

JadedCtrl
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Don't carry your laptop in a backpack for music-- use this, if you have the money to spare:

https://www.thinkpenguin.com/gnu-linux/portable-ogg-flac-audio-player-0

It's a fully Free Software OGG player-- much more portable and simple.

rcl
rcl
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The thing is that I need to listen to books. That is, use a TTS like eSpeak to read out loud books to me.

I also need to accelerate the audio to play it faster.

rcl
rcl
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Joined: 11/20/2016

Thanks all for all the comments.

I think I have to change the following things in my lifestyle to make it coherent with principles:

Buy a computer with free booting firmware and fully free operating system.
Get a paid account on posteo.
Ditch the tracker and get a phone number on the computer (JMP).

chaosmonk

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Is there such a thing as a PDA or other small, non-telephone device that can run a free operating system with JMP, an email client, and maybe some kind OpenStreetMap viewer? For me and probably a lot of others that would replace pretty much everything I use my phone for.

EDIT: Maybe something like these?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pandora_%28console%29
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zipit_wireless_messenger_(Z2)

Both can apparently run Debian.

Soon.to.be.Free
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The Pandora can definitely be run with only free software and offer the functionality you desire- OnPon4 and JadedCtrl both did (do?) this. The GPU and wireless card both can't be used, although you can do graphics on the CPU and use a USB wifi adapter to get around these- the internal wifi's apparently quite poor anyway. though.

The biggest problem with the Pandora, I suspect, is actually finding one for sale. I might have a look into the Zipit and see what I can find on freedom.

Soon.to.be.Free
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The Zipit is apparently similar to the Pandora: https://www.libreplanet.org/wiki/Group:Hardware/Freest#Zipit_Z2.

chaosmonk

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I am a translator!

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Great resource. Thank you!

J.B. Nicholson-Owens
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name at domain wrote:
> After reading about the situation with mobile phones and free software,
> I've come to the conclusion that they are trackers. How can I live without
> a mobile phone then? Is it inconvenient?

Perhaps it is inconvenient but privacy is more important. I'm sure there
are lots of people who live full and complete lives without being tracked
or handling phone calls everywhere they go.

> I like using bluetooth earphones or headphones on the go. I am thinking of
> carrying a computer folded in a backpack, running free software and
> supplying me with audio via bluetooth. Is there an obvious reason why this
> would not work?

If you want to listen to audio you can find small unnetworked digital audio
players that will fit in your pocket and work with wired headphones. This
approach will let you avoid broadcasting your audio via Bluetooth. Check
out the https://www.rockbox.org/ firmware (licensed under the GNU GPL v2 or
later) for supported devices. Perhaps there is an inexpensive used digital
audio player you can upgrade with Rockbox so you can pay less, get
something Rockbox supports, and avoid paying the manufacturer while gaining
the practical benefits of that device.

Magic Banana

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See https://trisquel.info/forum/smart-phone-recommendations-please#comment-117048 (and below) for some recent experiences of those of us (including myself) who own no tracking device.

sleepruim
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Joined: 01/16/2015

I have not owned a mobile phone for two years but I encountered the following “inconvinience”:

During my holiday my daughter and I were cycling in the Alps in Italy and during a descent she fell. Result: Severe bleeding from the abdomen and 6 teeth missing.... I sure was glad someone with such a “tracking device” came by to call ambulance.

I also could not send an email to my wife because of the recent server downtime of openmailbox

Dont get me wrong: I love freesoftware. I only use libreboot computers with parabola, I use openmailbox, I do not own a mobile phone, but this was a little too “inconvinient” or would you say this is a case of “liberty or death”?

ao
ao
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