- Android Phones
Best Android Privacy Apps - Stop Government and Corporate Spying in Its Tracks
Privacy Apps - Citizens Stand Up Against Government Spying
Since the infamous Edward Snowden leaks began to come out, many people have been shocked by the extent to which the American NSA and other government security agencies are spying on their own citizens, and on regular people around the world. The phone, email, text and web surfing data of ordinary citizens not suspected of any particular criminal activity are all tracked and recorded by the government on a regular basis, and there is even evidence that the NSA is using facial recognition software to analyze your photos in order to build up an even more complete profile of you.
Personally I think this is really creepy at best, and a serious infringment of civil liberties and a dangerous step towards tyranny at worst. I do not want to government spying on me, tracking everything I do and all my social connections. I do not want to bear the risk being put on some secret list of enemies of the state just because I unknowingly strike up an online conversation with the wrong person, or because the 'metadata' pertaining to my innocent activities happens to look a little bit like something they are not. And in any case, like I said, even if nothing ever happens to me as a result of this spying, I just find the whole thing creepy and sinister and I don't like it.
Fortunately, if you feel the same as me about the prevalent government and corporate spying which now pervades our modern lives, there are a few quick and easy steps that you can take to put a stop to it. You don't even need to sign petitions and become an activist - not that there is anything wrong with doing this if you feel strongly about the issue. All you need to do is to download a couple of apps, or some software for your computer, which makes it much harder or even impossible for people to track what you are doing. If this privacy software were to become popular amongst the general public then it could be an even more effective way to stop the NSA and other secret government agencies from spying on their citizens than any kind of activism or protest - so if you do want to become more of an activist then the easiest way is just to recommend these apps to your friends and family!
If you are serious about privacy then you should of course protect all of your electronic devices, but in this article I will focus exclusively on privacy apps for your Android phone or tablet.
RedPhone is probably the best privacy app for voice calls, but it does require the person you are speaking to to also have the app installed.
The RedPhone app is free to install, and automatically gives you the option to upgrade to encrypted phone calls whenever the person who you are calling also has the app installed. Because calls are routed over the internet using VoIP (like Skype) the calls that you make using this service uses your data allowance rather than your call time. The app does not affect your experience of making a call in any way - you still use your regular phone number and address book and it works in conjunction with any other apps which can make calls.
Other than data usage all calls are free.
TextSecure provides encrypted private messaging. You can send text messages using this service for free - again it uses your data allowance but not your phone plans text allowance. The end-to-end encryption is secure and fast, and offers additional features such as group messaging.
Online Privacy Shield
The Online Privacy Shield app makes it easier to control which apps get access to what data from your phone. Often the apps that we install want to access for data from our phones than they really need. This can be sold on as a way to generate revenue for an app, and can also sometimes provide hackers with a convient back door into your device.
Using the scan tool provided with this app you can easily see what data all of your apps are accessing and make changes to your privacy permissions.
How Important is Privacy to You?
If you have a roote Android phone, or if you are willing to take the risk of voiding your warranty by rooting your device, then XPrivacy is one of the most powerful tools available.
Not only can you use this app to block access to certain types of data on your phone, it can also be used to feed fake data to anybody spying on you so that you can effectively block access to your private information without having any problem from apps which insist on access to that data.