Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
April 02, 2018

Why I Did Not Buy A Smartphone

This my current cell phone:


It is an Ericsson T39M bought in 2001. I have used it since. Back then it was the top-of-the-line phone and cost, in today's equivalent, some €600-700 ($800). It has triband GMS which enabled me to use it in Europe and in the United States. GPRS and HSCSD allowed for fast 56 kbit/sec data transfers. I had also bought the wireless Bluetooth headset for the phone but soon lost it. It was anyway somewhat unpractical.

Despite daily use and rough handling the phone itself shows no sign of aging. (The light color of the phone attracts lots of dirt and I did not clean it before taking the picture.) It works very well. The rubber cable coating of the charger has fallen apart which necessitated a support construction, made from matches and tape, at the connector side.

I would love to keep the phone for another 17 years but its battery is dying on me. Originally the phone would be up for three or more days under normal use. It is now down to less than a work-day. Talk time is down to some unpredictable 3-7 minutes without recharging. This is no longer acceptable. 'New' special batteries for this phone are offered on eBay and elsewhere for €50 to €80. But their provenience is murky and the only dealers are in Turkey, Serbia, Hongkong or Indonesia.

The obvious question came up: Should I buy a smartphone to replace my trusted Ericsson?

I tested several of the current top-of-the-line smartphones - Motorola, Samsung, Apple. They were in the same relative price range as my old Ericsson was at its time. But they lack in usability. They either have a too small screen for their multitude of functions or they are bricks that require an extra pocket.

In 1999 science fiction writer David Gerrold was asked how cell phones would develop. He correctly predicted the integration of all media, communication and services into one 'smart' device:

via Esther Schindler - read the full column

But Gerrold was wrong with this part:

It will be a box less than an inch thick and smaller than a deck of cards. (The size will be determined by the convenience to hold, not by the technology inside.)

Progress in the mobile phone market was once defined as phones getting smaller and thus easier to carry. But all the new phones are larger than my old one. Why did this happen?

This graphic offers an explanation:

"Evolution of cellphones"

The arrow points to the moment "where people discovered
mobile phones can be used to watch porn".
via Carl Zha - bigger

I don't watch porn. But if I would watch porn I would want a screen big enough to see the details. Any handheld device is too small for that.

Most people I observe use their smartphones for "social network" stuff. To them smartphones are a synonym for Facebook, Whatsapp and other such services.

I don't use social networks. The one Twitter account I have is exclusively used for writing and promoting this blog.

Smartphones and the attached social networks make you dumb - literally:

The results of experiment 1 indicate that the mere presence of participants’ own smartphones impaired their performance on tasks that are sensitive to the availability of limited-capacity attentional resources.
... the results of experiment 2 suggest that the mere presence of consumers’ own smartphones may adversely affect cognitive functioning even when consumers are not consciously attending to them. Experiment 2 also provides evidence that these cognitive costs are moderated by individual differences in dependence on these devices. Ironically, the more consumers depend on their smartphones, the more they seem to suffer from their presence—or, more optimistically, the more they may stand to benefit from their absence.

Smartphones take up A LOT of time:

[A]n average smartphone user clicks, taps and swipes 2,617 times (145 minutes) per day! With heavy users that number jumps to 5,427 times (225 minutes) per day.

Another disadvantage of smartphones is enormous amount of personal data they inevitably steal for uncontrolled use by third parties. The technical consultant Dylan Curran studied this:

Want to freak yourself out? I'm gonna show just how much of your information the likes of Facebook and Google store about you without you even realising it --->

As soon as an Android smartphone is switched on Google will collect ALL data on every location change and on anything done on the phone. Apple does likewise with its iPhones.

Most applications on a smartphone will collect and sell not only your personal data but also of those persons you are in touch with. As soon as you install Whatsapp ALL personal contact data of other people stored in your phone-directory is transferred to Whatapp's servers. Under German law it is illegal to do this unless everyone in your phone book explicitly consented to it.

Any mobile phone can be tracked by the telecommunication provider it is connected to. We usually know and trust these providers. They are regulated. But a smartphone positions can be independently tracked by various third parties even when its location service is turned off:

We describe PinMe, a novel user-location mechanism that exploits non-sensory/sensory data stored on the smartphone, e.g., the environment’s air pressure, along with publicly-available auxiliary information, e.g., elevation maps, to estimate the user’s location when all location services, e.g., GPS, are turned off.

In his 1999 prediction David Gerrold acknowledged the inherent danger to privacy 'smart' integrated devices would create:

I call this device a Personal Information Telecommunications Agents, or Pita for short. The acronym also can stand for Pain In The Ass, which it is likely to be, because having all that connectivity is going to destroy what's left of everyone's privacy.

I do not want to give all my data into the hands of some unaccountable billionaires and unknown third parties. I do not want my privacy destroyed.

So no - I decided not to buy a smartphone as replacement for my trusted Ericsson companion.

Here is my new phone:


It is a Chinese product sold in Germany under the Olympia brand. It is a GSM quad-band 'dumb' phone with FM radio and a flashlight. The standby time is 140 hours and talk-time is 3+ hours. The battery is a standardized model and future replacements will be easy to find.

Size and weight are nearly the same as the old Ericsson. The keys are much bigger, illuminated and easier to handle, especially in the dark. It is a robust construction and the sound quality is good.

It cost me €22.00 ($26.40).

Posted by b on April 2, 2018 at 19:28 UTC | Permalink


It's ok, Langley and the BKA know where you live anyway.

Posted by: Perimetr | Apr 2 2018 19:37 utc | 1

I'm not convinced the new generation of retro dumb phones aka feature phones do not also have all the same surveillance capabilities as their smart brethren - even though they don't expose those capabilities as features to the end user.

Posted by: Tian | Apr 2 2018 19:48 utc | 2

In South Africa we cannot activate a sim card without producing proof of residence and an ID document.
I'm with 1.

Posted by: david | Apr 2 2018 19:49 utc | 3

b, wise beyond your years.

I am not surprised. I have a flip phone, too. My daughter gave me an iPhone 8 because she is into texts primarily with her Apple watch. So, emails are almost defunct for her lifestyle and calls are out because she works in health services and can't take calls readily. The camera is terrific on the iPhone. The smartphone also calculates my walking which is a good prod to make be get up from the computer and walk many times a day.

I won't give up the flip phone. And I don't use the phone on the iPhone.

Back in the day of the Beeper, I didn't have one of those either.

Somehow we survive without the Tech of the Day.

Posted by: Red Ryder | Apr 2 2018 19:52 utc | 4

The age of pussyfoot by Frederick Pohl (1965) describes the "joymaker".
This is the first references I have ever seen which accurately predicted smart phones.
Saves me typing - read below:-

For the price of a replacement battery, you could have an android phone. Apple is too restrictive imho and having started out on an phone 3gs, I now use a samsung Galaxy J7 Pro dual simm phone running android v7.0 which cost me less than GBP200.00

Posted by: Kaiama | Apr 2 2018 19:58 utc | 5

I recommend Motorola Moto G5. Screen is 5 inch something but it's not too small.

Posted by: Bengt | Apr 2 2018 20:05 utc | 6

b - I only scanned your post, but my answer is: NO!

Don't buy a "smart" phone (or anything else labeled "smart"). They are nothing more than data collectors, part of the Internet of Things that, IMNSHO, is an existential threat to our civilization.

I just decided to look back at the end of the post. and I see that you took my advice. ;-)

Posted by: John Zelnicker | Apr 2 2018 20:05 utc | 7

Bravo! Sharing this with all of my friends who care to listen.
Switched to a dumbphone a few months ago (not by choice - I have a serious problem with either losing or breaking phones) and have never been happier. I didn't realize how much I missed old-school radio!

Posted by: ragehead | Apr 2 2018 20:15 utc | 8

Well you have to ask yourself, Do i want to participate in a mass surveillance system for one, Then you have to ask Is their any reason i would accept constant audio recordings being made of my environment, then you have the camera angle to contend... Then your GPS location is a major issue, add the ultrasonic beacon thing and the cell tower triangulation aspect to consider.... the phone you have from 2001 is not anywhere near as proficient at many of these tasks being built well before the 2006 legislation regarding this series of systems... If it were me and i knew all about this stuff, i would pay a hell of a lot more than a new phone is worth to keep the old unit in service for as long as you could... Any new phone is going to do all the above to your privacy and then some the old one is very limited, so how concerned are you with being an open book to who ever has access to your phone from the hidden parts and functions you never get to use? Me? I have seen a ton of serious problems with the uses of the tech being built into the modern smartphones, some models give you lots of functions to use, some give you a basic lite experience, But ALL new devices give the state running the system a HEFTY pack of features you will never know about until it's damage has been done. Take my advice Keep the 2000 model going for as long as you can if you must have a mobile phone. If you WANT to be the target of every nasty thing the state does with this new tech investigator/spy then by all means get one of the smart type, Any new one is just as bad as any other after 2006 legislation changes went into effect. 2001 was a very bad event for this topic... I will not have one after the events that befell me. A high performance radio computer with many types of real world sensors, using a wide spread and near unavoidable network of up link stations is the states most useful weapon. Everyone chooses to have what they have, You can also choose to NOT have, but few choose NOT, many choose the worst option on old values of this sort of choice and never think about the loss they incur to have the NEW gadget for whatever reason they rationalize it.

Posted by: Alan Reid | Apr 2 2018 20:16 utc | 9

@b Soon it will be illegal not to have one, same with facebook. Get the batteries now:)

@5Kaiama Frederick Pohl has another great one 'The cool war' 1971. Pretty much sums up today in a not so direct way

Posted by: Tannenhouser | Apr 2 2018 20:18 utc | 10

The Ericsson charger have seen better days.   LOL   However, I wouldn't toss it out; leave it in your used electronics bin.   I've stopping using cell phones a long time ago but I haven't tossed them out yet.   I'm surprised you can get a cell phone for $26 and yours seem to be an older model when compared to the website.   At least European retailers are aware of the changing demographics.   North America is rather slow on catching on.   In any case, it doesn't matter what you use, intelligence/security agencies will always have a way to track you when you're on the grid.

Posted by: Ian | Apr 2 2018 20:19 utc | 11

Smart phones are destroyers of information sovereignty. With a PC one can save a copy of every page you visit whereas with the smart phone all you can practically do is view things. It pisses me off.

Has anyone noticed how shallow the so called world wide web has gotten these days.,? Search terms which would in the psst throw up hundreds if not thousands of webpages on the subject matter now result in sometimes no more than 3 or 4 entries. Google has stolen the internet of us all. The web is dead. Cunts like zuckerberg should be drop kicked into the long grass.

Posted by: Whorin Piece | Apr 2 2018 20:21 utc | 12

The main espionage equipment in a smartphone or dumbphone is not the application processor and the programs that run on it. It's the GSM/3G/UMTS/LTE/5G chipset which every single one of them obviously has. "We kill with metadata" is the most important aphorism about phones, no matter which kind, ever.

However, a smartphone gives you lots of convenience which your 22$ chinaphone doesn't give you. A browser when on the road, a book reader, a map device.
You have to take a few precautions, e.g. use LineageOS, install AFWall and XPrivacy. Nothing different from using a PC basically. And you certainly shouldn't shell out 500$ for one. Every dollar/euro above ca. 100 has to be very well justified.

Sure, you can live in the 80s, nothing wrong with that. We lived fine back in those days too, but why not take advantage of some of the improvements since then?

Posted by: nervos belli | Apr 2 2018 20:23 utc | 13

I don't watch porn. But if I would watch porn I would want a screen big enough to see the details. Any handheld device is too small for that.

Agree, porn should be watched in the safe confines of house on a large HD monitors of desktop computers or directly on good size HD TVs. I will refrain from commenting on handheld devices, LOL. I apologize, couldn't resist. Forgive me for my minute of immaturity. And yes, I generally agree with the message.

Posted by: SmoothieX12 | Apr 2 2018 20:23 utc | 14

Nice post b. Expresses my sentiments exactly.

I had to take my Nokia X2 out of the plastic bag I keep it in so it doesn't get wet to see what model it was....I keep the battery out and pay T Mobile $10/year to have emergency minutes when I need them....I maintain and use a land line for all my calls.

It is not like these devices couldn't be useful but like the desktop OS world, bloatware is a standard now. I have programmed handheld devices since 1985 and my latest was a MS Windoze10/C# inventory management application with barcodes and such.

Prior to the Nokia I have now I was nursing along a Palm 720p until I couldn't get a carrier to support it anymore. So since the Palm I have consciously gone back to a Weekly Minder type of pocket calendar which I had to use before the online capability came along.

If our world were to change like I want it to by making the tools finance a public utility I might learn to trust more of my life to be held by technology than the 5 eyes already know......Everyone has seen the movie SNOWDEN , correct? Mac laptop had tape over the camera as soon as I brought it home.....I have a nice Nikon Coolpix camera with the GPS turned off and the battery out......grin

Posted by: psychohistorian | Apr 2 2018 20:23 utc | 15

O to speed up the passage of time so we could be in a post-social-network world! To realize how much better we are all served by being unconnected from each other.

Flip phones are where it's at. I am currently trying to downgrade away from this horrendous waste of time for something that doesn't a) press uncomfortably against my nether-regions, 2) irradiate my sperm count, and d) cause conditioned responses of anxiety and depression when I am not clanking away on the terribly unintuitive on-screen keyboard which is also destroying my typing skills which are overall much more useful.

For me, if there was a flip phone that could do the following, I would switch today, but I am still looking:

1) good standby time
2) high megapixel camera for work related tasks
3) ability to text message and attach images via text
4) optional: check email

If anyone knows a good candidate for a stateside product which satisfies the above, I am all ears.

In any case, I can't wait to be dumb again.

Posted by: NemesisCalling | Apr 2 2018 20:23 utc | 16

Well done MoA.

I went through the same logic process a couple of years ago and wound up buying a Nokia 310 - £20 SIM free, FM radio, torch, plays MP3 podcasts and near infinite battery life. It does calls and text, has a commodity battery and I use a PAYG SIM.
Only downside is that it is only single band.

Smart phones are for dumb people.

Posted by: DomesticExtremist | Apr 2 2018 20:28 utc | 17

I understand your choice, but you should have looked for a basic phone not just with GSM (2G), but also at least with UMTS (3G).

GSM is being wound down, and the frequencies reallocated to LTE (4G).

Many operators in several countries have already switched off their GSM networks (Australia, USA...) This means that in about 3-4 years, you will have real difficulties using your new mobile phone, at least in developed countries; in the Third World, GSM will probably last a bit longer.

Posted by: visitor | Apr 2 2018 20:41 utc | 18

Nice selection, but I doubt it will last 17 years...

Posted by: Pnyx | Apr 2 2018 20:44 utc | 19

I have a cheapo Nokia 100 for calls and a YotaPhone 2 as a tablet. The Yota is Russian but I don't mind the FSB 😃 Aldo it has two screens, one being a passive black and white for use in full bright sun light.

Posted by: Stephane | Apr 2 2018 20:49 utc | 20

I think b made a wise decision. Up till now I've also not needed a smart phone and the continious "connection" or being hooked to the "matrix" would not only eat my valuable time away but would also make me feel more bound.

"Another disadvantage of smartphones is enormous amount of personal data they inevitably steal for uncontrolled use by third parties. The technical consultant Dylan Curran studied this:

As soon as an Android smartphone is switched on Google will collect ALL data on every location change and on anything done on the phone. Apple does likewise with its iPhones."

That's the basic privacy nullification. There is also what can be described as the invasive potential. Certain companies, next to intelligence agencies, have made it their business to switch a victims own smart phone into a full blown active spy device. Obviously the victims are particular persons of interests like Dilma Roussef. Whenever a person is having a conversation, talks to himself out loud, has a meeting or is intimate, all sounds and conversations can be recorded next to video when the phone is positioned well. As we know, most people will not or can't part from their beloved smart phone.

Posted by: xor | Apr 2 2018 20:50 utc | 21

If your idea of living is becoming a walking zombi, go for the (allegedly) smart phone. For the convenience of getting and receiving calls and messages (sms) stay with what you have or a newer replacement. Nokia has renewed production of their iconic G2 phone complete without camera. Sorry to hear your ol' friend is passing away, only rejuvenation by battery will help. Might look on e-bay for another like phone and use its battery for as long as possible, you could get some value for money that way if fortune smiles.

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Apr 2 2018 20:53 utc | 22

Good choice, B.!

It's also gratifying that the comments so far generally approve of your selection. I admit that my personal experience in the US led me to expect that "everybody" would urge you to wise up and join the smartphone revolution.

To me, one of the most insidious aspects of the top-down imperative that everybody maximize their ownership and/or use of hand-held small-screen devices and social media-- the two are inextricably entwined, of course-- is the multiplier effect of peer pressure.

Actually, "peer" is just a part of the pressure. I'm thinking of the way that it gradually, incrementally becomes a standard expectation that people own smartphones, etc., and use social media.

Just a couple of examples from many that spring to mind:

• While checking out at a supermarket some time ago, I happened to mention that two of their self-service price-checking scanners didn't work; they installed these handy devices only a couple of years ago.

The cashier cheerfully advised me that I could just use "my" (nonexistent) smartphone to check prices-- they even have an "app" for that! She went on to say that "so many" people use their smartphones for "everything" these days-- after all, the products all have "QR" barcodes on everything now, and it's so much easier to check a price right on the spot, dontcha know.

She didn't mention this, but smartphone users also seem unable to purchase groceries without placing frequent calls while prowling the aisles, to get second opinions or otherwise confer about their shopping needs from interested third parties.

The cashier added that the non-functioning scanners weren't being repaired any more because management planned to remove them entirely, which BTW happened not long afterwards. The cashier really was being friendly and helpful, so I just politely nodded rather than start shrieking and tearing out what little is left of my hair.

• My 60+ year old sister stubbornly resisted obtaining a smartphone, even after her husband and two grown children became addicted iPhonies. But they persisted in hassling her for being the Odd (Wo)man Out, and she finally cracked.

One of the last straws for her was that her employer jumped on the social media bandwagon, and also began to use smartphone apps for some work-related functions.

She dutifully uses her iPhone now, but she actually misses her simpler cellphone-- she privately grumbles to me about this or that feature that she liked on her old cellphone, but either isn't available or is less user-friendly on the iPhone.

And once one joins the smartphone community cult, one apparently becomes indifferent or oblivious to any concerns about surveillance, hacking, data-mining, etc. All is for the best in this best of all possible hand-held media-device world.

This is exactly the kind of groundswell marketers pray for, and so far they've been diabolically successful. Yes, one can only increase one's determination to resist. But the countervailing force is like quicksand, or a lethal undertow-- it's difficult for people not to feel forced into "upgrading" their hardware, and participating in social media despite initial reservations.

Posted by: Ort | Apr 2 2018 20:55 utc | 23

I got a dumb phone for emergencies, but I use it to text mostly and nothing of importance. As with the pager before it, I wouldn't have one unless required. The first depiction of anything resembling a smart phone I recall was Dick Tracy's two-way wrist Radio/TV/Telephone device that was introduced in January 1946.

Posted by: karlof1 | Apr 2 2018 21:13 utc | 24

I can not tell what to do. In fact, when buying a "smartphone", you have to get used that the phone will be discharged during 1 or 1.5 days, you will become dependent to next USB source, or a battery pack (which is somewhat heavy, 1 pound ca. but not too bulky.

Personally, I am using such a device since 5 yrs ca., first a 4.7" HTC one of my daughters gave me. I soon installed Cyanogenmod (now LineageOS) and threw away all the bloat and especially the Google and Facebook dirt and spyware. I do not have an email account on the brick, rather a browser over which I may access the Web representation of my email account, which is NOT gmail or similar. I do not use Google playstore.

The "killer apps" for me are mainly FBReader, a free ebook reader, VLC for audio and video, and OSMand, an OpenStreetMap client. Some simple calendar, picture etc. apps are on as well. My recent phone is a Samsung S4 mini, bought used for 50€.

This is a minimalistic setup, but makes tracking and spying other than by government agencies difficult. LineageOS is updated nearly every week, so fairly safe against Android malware.

With a "regular" smartphone, you will lack updates after a few years, have a lot of bloat on board you cannot get rid of, be forced to have a Google account for access of the software repository Google playstore, which is deeply integrated into Android. If one does not care to be spied and sniffed not only by the FBI and NSA, but by Brin and Zuckerberg in addition, ok.

Greetings, a^2

Posted by: aquadraht | Apr 2 2018 21:19 utc | 25

Ok I had misread. Your decision is clearly sensible and wise, and I congratulate. Honestly, I got addicted to having an ebook reader along with a library of 10,000+ books, much music and audiobooks with me on a 200g brick. Nothing one urgently needs, but nifty.


Posted by: aquadraht | Apr 2 2018 21:29 utc | 26

Should you change your mind one of these days and get a smartphone after all there are two options allowing you personally to "get of the grid":
(1) get a phone with removable battery
(2) get a SIM without registering your real name and address

Note that there are at least 3 countries in EU allowing this: Belgium France & Portugal (however only 1 SP that I know of in each country)

Posted by: mh505 | Apr 2 2018 21:41 utc | 27

I have one phone where I did not buy data or text plan.

Thinking no data can be collected since there is no data link plan was paid for.
I was wrong, I have received text and email on my device from mobile phony company reminder of late bill.

I had even older phone but I had to abandon it when local provider/communication tower company upgraded the antenna. I still could go to some areas where my old phony was still working but mostly it was eliminated.

The elimination of older phones still working is purposeful since they do not have latest spying gadgets in them.

Posted by: Kalen | Apr 2 2018 21:42 utc | 28

Peter Higgs, who won the Nobel for proposing the existence of the Higgs Boson, that was later discovered, didn't even know how to send an email.

Email is OK because you get to choose when you are available to interact.

The internet is OK to the extent that you get to actively seek answers to your own, self-generated questions.

A landline at work is a necessary and acceptable duty.

That is the horizon of the realm of empowerment.

Posted by: Shyaku | Apr 2 2018 21:56 utc | 29

Provided one has access to good public WiFi: It seems to me that Wifi and a tablet, or laptop (with a good battery) + the use of a virtual proxy network, VPN, which are almost always encrypted, is better than a smartphone. (Of course if the tablet is Android don't use the Chrome web browser.)

Then just buy a 25 euro Samsung or LG flip phone for the talking part of phone use. It won't last 17 years, but one can still get batteries for them.

Of course this approach doesn't work if you don't have solid public WiFi where you'd normally use a smartphone in public.

Posted by: Jay | Apr 2 2018 21:59 utc | 30

@mh505 #27 Even with a SIM card not linked to your personal ID card it's fairly easy to automatically tie your smartphone to your person whereby you end up in the drag net you try to escape. Not in the least thanks to your close ones whom probably have you listed with your full name + phone number (thus SIM) in their smartphone. And that's even besides you connecting to all kinds of services offered by Google and the likes that know where you personally hang out because of WIFI access points, GPS location (if enabled), connected IP address where someone else connected to who has GPS enabled etc.

Unfortunately your list of EU countries that don't require personal ID to purchase a SIM card is incorrect.

Posted by: xor | Apr 2 2018 22:17 utc | 31

Before I got to the end of the piece, I was thinking of a Chinese phone. At least the data goes elsewhere, which is why the Western intelligence agencies "warn against them". (Translation, they are worried about not being able to collect your data).

Posted by: Lea | Apr 2 2018 22:32 utc | 32

It depends on the prices in your phone market.

In USA it pays to be stupid. The choice I have is to use a smart phone with a monthly charge ca. 100 dollars or a stupid phone with a monthly charge of 8 dollars (or is it 15? and the phone for 8). And if you are old enough you can bear with hardships like memorizing the map of the area were you live, having to check stuff on your own desktop computer before you leave home etc. And the difference in costs can be spent on cigarettes, beer, donations to OxPham, it is your pick.

Concerning surveilance, a stupid phone is used sparingly, so it definitely provides less tracking info.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Apr 2 2018 22:35 utc | 33

Actually, premium on stupidity for ATT customers is 25 $/month vs 65 $/month or 85 $/month, plus the price of the phone differs quite a bit -- my stupid phone was 8 bucks, including the charger. Charger alone would be more. However, one can probably get the phone for free with 24 month contract.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Apr 2 2018 22:46 utc | 34


I used my Finnish-made Nokia 6170 GSM phone from 2004 for almost 14 years. I was finally forced the abandon it early this year, as the keyboard stopped working properly. Most likely the wires in the hinge of the clam mechanism were damage. As a replacement I got a Nokia 6 Android phablet (made in China). It is big and clumsy, but I do not care. I have stopped speaking on the phone and no longer carry a phone around. It is good for surfing Facebook in the tram or at McDonald's.

Actually I tried switching to a smartphone already 3 years ago. I bought a Nokia Lumia 520 for 69 euros (made by Microsoft). The first thing I noticed was that the phone was spying on me. I started seeing advertisements on Facebook based on keywords I or others had spoken around the phone. A few months later Finnish media started reporting on the strange behavior. The tip had come from some thread on Reddit.

I started recording the incidents here. In some cases the spying can only be described as a serious breach of privacy. But because of the need to privacy I have not been able to discuss these incidents publicly.

The culprits turned out to be the Facebook and the Messenger applications on the phone. I always made sure I would turn off the applications after I had used then, instead of letting them run in the background. It turned out that this had little effect. Facebook would listen into my voice through other people's phones. If three people meet, it is almost certain that at least one of them has a spy application listening in to their phone's microphone.

It would be impossible for the phone to maintain a constant uplink to its master to send the voice track for analysis. More likely the Facebook applications are running Siri-like speech recognition on the phone. The processing capacity is available on first generation Windows phones like the dual core Lumia 520. Secretly running speech recognition in the background must be a terrible strain on the phone's batteries. The American "free press" has never reported on this behavior, not until last week when Fox News reported on the spying. How could this story be kept secret for over there years?

My Nokia Lumia 520 phone ended its carrier a year later. The first symptoms were that the phone would become extreme slow and would fail to receive SMS text messages. Rebooting the phone would usually help. I tried to download new firmware, but before I could reflash the phone to factory firmware, the phone had "bricked" itself. All it shows on startup is a sad smiley face indicating that even the boot loader is corrupted.

I suspected NSA had installed spyware on my phone and corrupted the firmware. Later I learnt through Wikileaks that the CIA has spyware that installs itself on the firmware of smartphones. Why would the CIA want to spy on me? Am I paranoid? But why is it that I am just about the only one here commenting under one's own name?

I do not know if anyone has seen the CIA spyware in the live. For all I know it is still on my Lumia phone. If anyone has the tools and wants to extract it from the flash memory of my phone, it is all yours.

Posted by: Petri Krohn | Apr 2 2018 23:03 utc | 35

Yes - mini phone + tablet+ pc, or just mini phone and pc.
laptops and smart phones only work if your eyesight is as good as someone still in their 20s.
Have a very ageing Iphone 4 (my first smart phone, passed to me when a relative died) and the only smart thing I use on it is the MP3 player and blue tooth, which is great but a very basic function nowadays.
Bengt: Motorola Moto G5. Screen is 5 inch
My daughter bought this - v cheap but competitive with her school friends, and Android is the only way to go. But dropping it in the toilet bowl does kill it I'm afraid.

Posted by: michael d | Apr 2 2018 23:09 utc | 36

I was recently speaking to a cell phone sales person who had the honesty to say that I should hang on to my flip phone that is 6 years old because "Smart Phones" are now only manufactured to last 3 years!

Posted by: Kathryn | Apr 2 2018 23:13 utc | 37

5g will be rolled out extremely quickly. 3g will be made obsolete. Lingerers will be forced to upgrade to smart.

Concomitantly, cashlessness and blockchain and iot will be rolled out extremely fast everywhere empire too. Again, forcing people to adopt smart. Illness will burgeon, but that's another mater. What to go somewhere in that autonomous vehicle? Sorry, no smart device, no go. Want your weekly groceries? Sorry, no smart device, no go. Only alternative will be back to the bush, dmitriy orlov style.

Posted by: Plod | Apr 2 2018 23:28 utc | 38

I've got a dumb flip-phone that WalMart sold my mother. Net10 swapped an LG306G (semi-smart) for my old TRAC phone which was 2G and no longer supported. I can do basics like look at radar or a few of the mobile websites (more like tabloids) but no online video/audio. It is 3+ yr old tech but it was a free swap. I bought a Jitterbug (large keys) for my mother. She rarely uses hers and the same is true for me.

20 yr ago I started hating cellphones when my employer required me to get a 1 lb. Nokia so managers could use the walkie-talkie feature. It made me available in the worst way when asshats would call me at home to ask when so-and-so would have their email account set up. It was bad enough I had to use my credit card for it to be reimbursed while managers got the smaller, lighter ones.

I can read this site via my semi-smart phone but posting is problematic so I don't. It is interesting that the word "Atom" appears at the top as if the site recognizes the CPU.

Posted by: Curtis | Apr 2 2018 23:42 utc | 39

I'm already addicted to smart phones so it's too late for me. They are very convenient on some ways and they do have a number of benifits such as easy internet access, navigation, watching youtube videoa (so not just porn,) and easy posting on your favorite websitea. But if you haven't gotten used to having one, you'll never miss it. If you value your privacy, stick with simplicity.

Posted by: lysander | Apr 2 2018 23:51 utc | 40

great post b!!! i like your choice.. it was either that, or trying those batteries from turkey, etc...

i have never had a cell phone and never will... "...back to the bush, dmitriy orlov style..." yeah plod.. i guess that is my style too!

Posted by: james | Apr 2 2018 23:58 utc | 41

I have a quasi-smart phone. It's a Casio G'zone, replacing the one I bought in 2004 about 3 years ago. This was the only thing similar that wasn't a smartphone. I say "quasi" because it can get on the internet, but the screen is so tiny you can't see anything. I do get emails and use the text2speech function when I am away from my MacAir - works well.

The Casio is also waterproof (not resistant) to 2m, and it has gone in the drink multiple times. As I do not play social media, and prefer my MacAir for things work and digital, this phone type has worked well for me since 2004. I got the lifetime warranty thing from Verizon, so the replacement was no-cost. I only replaced the first one due to the buttons wearing away and ruining the waterproof sealing.

And FYI - I left this thing on the roof of my 4x4. When I realized that, I was driving 70MPH down the freeway. I slowed carefully, but the phone still slid off the roof and went bouncing down the concrete. It had a ding in the plastic housing, but works fine and is still waterproof.

I think that smartphones are a tremendous distraction, no matter where they are used. I love the videos of smartphone users walking into fountains and poles and each other - they deserve it for having their heads up their phones...

Posted by: Oilman2 | Apr 3 2018 0:22 utc | 42

I can still buy sims in Aotearoa without registering them and I do so from time to time as I have a thing about swapping feature phones fairly regularly, but I have never imagined this will protect me from anything other than the commercial data miners.
Government agencies have far more sophisticated means of working out who is up who and AFAIK are nearly undefeatable in tracking us all. The 'metadata' is ripped out of all cell towers collecting phone numbers and the IMSI.
A continuous contemporaneous record is kept of who calls who, who they talk to and for how long. Numbers which aren't 'resolved' are worked on until resolution is found - both feature phones and smart phones. This isn't a particularly arduous task as there is 100% certainty that someone in your personal network has registered their phone, either because they are do as they're told dingbats or because they wanted the $10 worth of free calls registration grants. If you swap your phone, the progs which run by working out who you are from comparing your current calling network profile to the eaarlier profile are trivial. All of this is done by tech, altho some poor fuck undoubtedly has the great job of wading through all the reports on 'unusual' activities/handsets and then deciding the next move.

The only reasonably workable method to stay a little private is to use burners where everyone who calls you and/or anyone else is also using an unregistered phone and all swap their handsets regularly but randomly. Too many people lack the discipline so the network has to be small and smart.
That may protect your metadata somewhat but protecting the actual data voice and/or text is much harder and it is worth noting our old friends in the fbi have been chasing makers of true PGP phones all over this planet and arresting them lately.
Rule number one, it doesn't matter what type you use feature of 'smart' make sure you leave the fucker behind as much as you can so when engaged in those 'special tasks' the static position of your set doesn't stick out like dogs balls at a time when something happens.

P.S. watched a englander doco about a whodunnit styler murder last year. The accused had taken a few steps such as leaving their usual phones at home but taking a 'burner'. The case was solved within 48 hours with the detective hardly having to leave his desk all done with phone traces and cameras.
Now I'm sure we aren't into knocking off other citizens but apart from the farce that is salisbury where the dearth of knowledge about the depth of privacy invasion makes it easy for may to tell whatever lie she chooses, 99.99% of us have no idea of the reality we live in, no coppers use snouts, grasses, fizz-gigs, toppers, CI's any more they are just too much hassle and often wrong, they collect vast amounts of data on us all, the vast majority of which is never accessed until their bosses tell them something must be 'solved' then anyone of us runs the chances of being set up by a frustrated careerist cop who wants to get ahead.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Apr 3 2018 0:23 utc | 43

I'm a 53 year old dog and try to keep things simple for myself. Being paranoid about being tracked and watched isn't my thing. I use my smart phone as a phone when I need to talk to an asswipe at work or my only friend to schedule a meetup or the wife unit when she calls. I have limited data so I usually wait until I'm home to view porn and news websites on the pc. I don't do any financial tasks on the phone, rarely text anyone, rarely use the camera, have only a few apps for things like weather and writing myself a note to remember to pick up milk or dog food on the way home from work. My life is so boring and my bank account so empty I'm not worth a bother to "them".

Posted by: Dee Wrench | Apr 3 2018 1:08 utc | 44

As soon as it will be avaiable, i will get a Eelo phone, this projet seems to be a good alternative to the Google and Apple phone world :

Posted by: Tozak | Apr 3 2018 1:55 utc | 45

No, no smart phone for me.
liked the Erikson for years, thanks b.

while abroad, buy a cheap one and drop it before departure.

OT: Sic Semper Tyrannis:
recommanded ....on your PC.

Posted by: Charles Michael | Apr 3 2018 3:16 utc | 46

I have land line, and only use cell phone when out of the house.

You must have a steel box (that hopfully closes over "flanges") that the cell phone will fit in. Then you can put the cell phone in "airplane mode" or whatever so it won't use up the battery trying to "call home". You don't need a stupid "Faraday cage", you just need a small steel box. The signals will never get through, ever, and the phone will completely disappear.

Posted by: blues | Apr 3 2018 3:17 utc | 47

I have a friend such as yourself, b. He has an old Nokia 3310 (his second one, after his first GUTG) and uses it for calls and texts, nothing more.

I always have location off on my 'phone but, of course, turn it on for certain GPS events. Recently, I washed my hands of Facebook (asked for total deletion of my account) and will have no truck with Whatsapp, etc. I keep one Twitter account, mainly for accessing geo-political data and calling out HM Government for its lies and failings. Still, I know that somewhere data on me is being harvested and stored. We should all be aware that, even though this is illegal in many countries, that data can be used to the advantage of those agencies combing over it.

Posted by: Bevin Kacon | Apr 3 2018 3:55 utc | 48

Smartphones and the attached social networks make you dumb - literally:

I began reading the link behind 'literally' and quickly realised that I don't need scientific proof that smart phone addiction makes ppl dumb.
Driving out of the local shopping mall this morning, I noticed a 50-ish woman standing at the threshold of a pedestrian crossing nattering on her smart phone. She wasn't facing the crossing and I decided she wasn't going to cross. But she did, without even bothering to glance at the traffic.

It wasn't dramatic and it didn't really matter because the traffic in the mall precinct and car park is slow. However, it reminded me of a conversation I had with a teacher about the age at which children can be trusted to cross the road independently and without adult supervision. There are lots of factors one has to be aware of in order to cross a road safely. I thought (from my own 1950s childhood) it was about 8 and she thought 10-ish was more realistic. She phoned me a few days later to tell me that Education Department Policy is that primary school children are NOT old enough to cross a road unsupervised.

So, a 50-ish woman, who has OBVIOUSLY mastered all of the multitude of skills required to cross a road safely, allowed her smart phone to induce her to "forget" the most basic precursors to a safe crossing.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 3 2018 4:01 utc | 49

Here is what I have been doing for years: Since I dont like to have a gsm signal going from a cell radio to my brain, I rent a virtual DID number and use it with a SIP (VOIP) application on a iPad Mini with LTE sim card. Total cost for unlimited CAN/US wide calls per year? 180$. Total cost for 5G of data CAN/US/Mex wide? 10$
Added bonus? Extra screen real estate for those derailed MoA threads.. ;-)

Posted by: Lozion | Apr 3 2018 4:06 utc | 50

Oh And I also deleted Facebook, Gmail, Google maps, etc. I hope to have a one-stop-shop @Apple whom I somewhat trust a bit more and well one does need an email..

Posted by: Lozion | Apr 3 2018 4:10 utc | 51


So, a 50-ish woman, who has OBVIOUSLY mastered all of the multitude of skills required to cross a road safely, allowed her smart phone to induce her to "forget" the most basic precursors to a safe crossing.
(End quote)

I have had several experiences with this unfortunate new type of situational distraction while driving. Occasionally, I must drive a full size tractor-trailer... From way up there, you can see what is happening in most nearby vehicles. Some of it is amusing, some of it is terrifying.

Pulling up to an intersection controlled by signals and signaling for a right turn, I have the right of way, my light is green, cross street red for some seconds prior.

As I begin the turn, taking care to exclude any cars from cutting me off by turning right to my right, which will cause my rear trailer tires to roll over them. A car rolls slowly into the intersection, and stops in the lane closest to me. It is past the marked crosswalk and slightly over the line dividing the North and Southbound lanes. The driver has his smartphone ballanced on the steering wheel and is staring only at it, as his fingers dance over the screen. He is going to have a semi truck roll directly over his seat in about 1 second from the time he comes to a complete stop.

I come to a complete stop, perhaps 4 feet from hitting him. I can barely see him over the truck's nose, he is so close.the truck is NOT a quiet one... after stopping the truck before killing hime and watching him continue to tap the screen for about 5 more seconds, I gently tap the accelerator, no need to hit the horn so close. No response. After about another 5 seconds of watching the man ignore his surroundings I gently tap the "city horn"- The one which is just like your car horn, not the godawful loud highway air horn. Still no response. The guy continues to tap away at his screen, completely oblivious to 74,000 lb. of mechanized death less than 6 feet from his head. A few more seconds, ai hit the air horn. GRATIFYING, A RESPONSE! His head snaps up, jaw drops and he stares about wildly trying to figure out where he is and why a truck appears to be directly in front of him. A few more seconds, and he figures out WHY I am just sitting there looking at him and he puts the vehicle in reverse to get clear of my turn lane.

I am a bit bemused. We tend to talk to ourselves when alone, and I was quietly saying some things to myself about his ancestry, sapience, situational awareness, level of training, my speculations of possible canine ancestry on the maternal side. My lips do move while I talk to myself. Apparently, he is MUCH better at reading lips than driving. His face turns several colors in turns, then he gives me the universal hand signal for "You're number 1 in my book!", the hand signal where a middle finger represents the number "1".

I wonder what he was texting about. It was more important than his survival, apparently.

Posted by: Whyawannaknow1 | Apr 3 2018 5:05 utc | 52

Get a Huawei Mate 10. Last more than a day and have great camera.

Posted by: Mark | Apr 3 2018 7:53 utc | 54

@54 Mark

The Mate 10 has the Kirin 970 chip with an AI NPU so just remember "It can't be bargained with. It can't be reasoned with. It doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear." ;)

Posted by: TJ | Apr 3 2018 8:04 utc | 55

Concerning size : I dont know if the phones have grown because people watch porn, but with the shape my eyesight is in, I welcomed a reasonable increase in size. Yes I do have a smartphone, I have teenage daughters, and some of the apps you can get are helpful and convenient (I hate the word).
The spying happens on us anyway, unless you are completely of the grid. But I am certain (at least in greater parts of Europe) that you are not susceptible to direct surveillance by 3 letter agencies. Not yet anyway. What goes for US and UK and the Netherlands is an entirely different matter.
(I was recently vetted by government security for a job, no problem, even I am politically active on the left).
The fact of the matter is, that you expose yourself as son as you engage on the Internet, and no matter what kind op opsec you have (not engaging in hour long sessions of hiding tactics), you will expose yourself. Need you worry?
At present I do not think so, if you have a normal non offensive/violent behaviour online. Rest assured though, that if you DO NOT, then you will find yourself under surveillance.
Being critical of our governments behaviour is not yet a crime, calls for armed sedition, revolution and other such stuff is, however. As is dealing drugs, or women or weapons.
Calling the British and US government is not a crime where I live, and I intend to do it as often as it pleases me.
Should I change my "name" to PutinBot ?

Posted by: Den Lille Abe | Apr 3 2018 9:21 utc | 56

Having gone through the comments here I either have a lot of tin foil hats to sell or I know too little of what goes on in the real world.
If you are paranoid about being tracked, you need to get off the grid. Period. Full stop. No iffs or buts. Off. For ever.
Try it and see how long that works, remember that goes for credit cards too? Credit cards with RFID, like most in Europe, yes trackable. You cant excist in Northern Europe off the grid. Cant.
So forget about it, and just act with sense.

Posted by: Den Lille Abe | Apr 3 2018 9:34 utc | 57

@TJ @53 - wrong batteries ...

Posted by: b | Apr 3 2018 9:47 utc | 58

I have 2 old nokias from 2001 and 2003. They both work perfectly fine. I rarely use a cell phone anyway, as I tend to communicate via my PC (I do not own a smartphone, I detest them I must say). What I want from a phone is to be a phone: call or SMS someone, receive calls and SMSs from someone. That's all. Ah yeah, and give me the time and date as well, it is helpful sometimes :)

Even though they are old, they battery time is quite good. But that's probably because I really don't use them that much. Actually, my cellphone bill is ridiculously low :D

Now, as to the tracking and surveillance thing, well, it's too late for that. Ever since cell phone networks were operational, it has happened. But when it comes to the big corporations (FB, GGL, etc), the issues are a little tangential to me : if you depend on the internet a lot for communication and you rely on their so-called free services, you'd be really dumb not to know that you are (aka your data) used by them. So the rule of thumb for me is to never use those for sharing private data on purpose (I know I share data without my will, that's by design) but when I see ppl using e.g. FB for publishing private data (pics, etc) and using tools like face recognition and whatnot, I am a little concerned ... but anyway, I have no FB accounts and belong to no known online groups.

In fact, I am a very social person in real but extremely anti-social on the internet :D

Posted by: Thorgal | Apr 3 2018 10:00 utc | 59

@b 58

Under Compatible Models it lists T39m and it's 3.6V 670mAh here's another-

Sale price: £ 2.70 inc. VAT

Posted by: TJ | Apr 3 2018 10:11 utc | 60

I can only recommend a smartphone, altough obviously it depends on your personal situation: I have around 60mins of train/tram travel to get to work and back, therefor i need smth to occupy myself. It used to be newspapers (NZZ, german speakers probably know their fall from grace), but i don't think i need to explain here how useless they have become since the last 10+ years. With a smartphone i can access the sources of information of my choice like this blog, and check what the Politbüro wants us to think on my way to work.

No one is obliged to use Apps (there are useful ones tough, looking up a travel schedule on the fly for instance), or Facebook, WhatsApp et al. You might get some abuse from friends and family for not using WhatsApp, but im pretty sure you'll get more for not using a smartphone at all ;) Also, you can get a "newish" smartphone pretty cheap every one or two years, if you have some "tech victim" friends/family members.

If you worry about being tracked or giving NSA etc and the "data krakens" (Datenkraken) like facebook all your personal information, you can't use any portable phone anyway, have to use various tools like ad/tracker blockers etc (which only work to a certain effect) and have to heavily encrypt everything. Or not use any kind of computer with an internet connection at all. Not accessing the Dystopia that the commercial internet has become doesn't suffice.

Posted by: Hans Nötig | Apr 3 2018 10:26 utc | 61


I have SIM cards from all these countries and I am not registered anywhere.

Admittedly, this takes a little thought & preparation, so it is not for everyone

Posted by: mh505 | Apr 3 2018 11:13 utc | 62

@62 mh505: France and Portugal don't seem to have ID tied to SIM but Belgium just like Germany, UK and others do... all in the name of the omni justification granter: anti-terrorism. Belgium bans anonymous prepaid mobile phone SIM cards

@57 Den Lille Abe: I think there is still a big difference. There is total awareness thanks to smartphones amongst other that enable data mining comanies or worse to tell what you are doing right now (cooking, lying in your seat, sitting at the table, ...), how you feel, what you say, how this was 20 minutes ago and earlier all neatly stored and archived in offshore computer farms to be (ab)used and generate cach for the owners. And then there is a degree where there is a form of privacy. Knowing (/assuming) to which GSM antenna pole you're connected (giving away your presumed whereabouts) is still a range of a couple of 100 of meters, spending your money cash is also fairly anonymous (I know bills are tagged (RFID) when you get them from the ATM but after that not anymore so then it's guesswork), proliferation of government/commercial facial recognision camera's and number plate scanners is increasing but it's still not at a point where it's on every street corner and also in your own house you'd be invisible.

Other points lined out in the reactions here like not needing to recharge your phone at least once every 2 days, avoiding the complete time waste, numbing and group think thanks to social media and waste of money on things with little to no added value to me are also beneficial.

Posted by: xor | Apr 3 2018 14:23 utc | 63

Do we want to go back to printed materials arriving weeks later (opened) that are tracked by the insecurity services? The US Postal Service takes a snapshot of incoming mail for automated routing and surveillance and offers a service to email you a set of photos of today's mail going to your mailbox. Those photos could just as easily be sent anywhere.

I'm for a smartphone with a large screen so that I can access MOA and the Web from anywhere 24/7. It's just as "tracked" as anything else.

Posted by: daffyDuct | Apr 3 2018 14:33 utc | 64

This blog itself is an example of a social network because of the comments board. Many people here post multiple extensive comments; how does the time it takes to compose those comments compare with the time other people put on Facebook or Twitter?

If the only device everyone had was a phone like that Olympia phone, no one would be able to read this blog to begin with. b, what have you been doing to counter the gathering of data that can happen when you simply add an entry into this blog, or when someone posts a comment on this blog?

Posted by: Inkan1969 | Apr 3 2018 16:33 utc | 65

As with Adderall, so with smart phones: "They let kids use this stuff?"

So who needs the Stasi? The people can be relied upon to subject themselves to intense and intimate surveillance, at considerable expense to themselves, of a kind barely imaginable to the spooks of the past.

So who needs MK-ULTRA? The people can be relied upon to subject themselves to a soma-like self-hypnosis and stultification, at considerable expense to themselves, of a kind barely imaginable to the CIA chemists of the past.

So who needs the so-called nanny state? The people can be relied upon to transfer all control, stimulation, instruction and influence of their children over to the hedonistic-industrial complex, at considerable expense to themselves (ever paid for daycare?), of a kind barely imaginable to dystopian futurists of the past.

Posted by: Martin Finnucane | Apr 3 2018 17:34 utc | 66

And then there was R520 - maybe last of non-Sony Ericssons

That wicked bastard "wave over me if you want to oversleep" :-D

Posted by: Arioch | Apr 3 2018 17:42 utc | 67

> Here is my new phone

In russia those are being called бабашкафон - babushkafon - granny's phone :-D

Posted by: Arioch | Apr 3 2018 17:43 utc | 68

I downloaded everything Google had on me a couple of days ago. You're allowed to do that. I've an Android phone, but I'm not on Facebook, or anything else which might give my details. There wasn't much interesting. I've always followed the rule to keep secret anything important. Whether I succeeded, I don't know, but it's not evident so far.

Posted by: Laguerre | Apr 3 2018 19:26 utc | 69

correction. It wasn't a 1 lb. Nokia but a 1 lb Nextel.

Posted by: Curtis | Apr 3 2018 23:41 utc | 70

can you please post the link from where you bought this Olympia phone?

Bundle of thanks

Posted by: RussianSoul | Apr 4 2018 0:54 utc | 71

I hoarded a few Nokia 6310 and 6210 therefore I've been able to avoid being forced to join the new normal.
Last autumn I was offered a malfunctioning Lumia, whose screen would go blank now and then. I set it up with a free Lycamobile simcard, for which I never bought credit. I use it only with wifi, mostly to get in touch with friends abroad, via whatsapp. It's camera is a good replacement to my old powershot. I do get incoming phone calls, but as long as my Nokias will allow me I don't intend to replace them.

Posted by: estouxim | Apr 4 2018 1:02 utc | 72

One aspect that seems to have been neglected, @b/Bernard, is that people from 3d or 4th worlds often depend upon their smartphone to communicate with their distant dependants.

* Thailand
* Vietnam
* Laos
* Philippines
* Malaysia
* Indonesia

There is a class of laborers who depend on 4G Smartphones to sustain them in their assiduous servitude to foreign peoples who hold them in contempt.

Posted by: Pacifica_Advocate | Apr 4 2018 6:20 utc | 73

Hello b.
If I've understood correctly, You are German and live in Europe.
Anyway, I found quite a few "replacement batteries" for your T39m.
Used the following:
These 2 are affordable:
1-in Sweden-
2-in UK-
Cheers Veritas X- in Sweden

Posted by: Veritas X- | Apr 4 2018 14:44 utc | 74

Nikola Tesla predicted the creation of the smartphone way back in a 1926 interview with John B. Kennedy:

“When wireless is perfectly applied the whole earth will be converted into a huge brain, which in fact it is, all things being particles of a real and rhythmic whole. We shall be able to communicate with one another instantly, irrespective of distance. Not only this, but through television and telephony we shall see and hear one another as perfectly as though we were face to face, despite intervening distances of thousands of miles; and the instruments through which we shall be able to do his will be amazingly simple compared with our present telephone. A man will be able to carry one in his vest pocket.”

Posted by: garasanin | Apr 4 2018 23:11 utc | 75

Do not buy a smartphone for a simple reason.

Compromises potentially in the Trusted Platform or the baseband could leak information to undesirable people, these cannot be reverse engineered easily, certainly not by an average engineer.

Furthermore I should say even a simple GSM device (2G) will not protect you against a Stringray IMEI/IMSI scooping scenario.

My advice is this.
Do not carry a mobile of any sort.

Posted by: Lenka.Penka | Apr 5 2018 0:38 utc | 76

All cell phones are trackable.
All phones regularly ping cell towers to ensure they are "connected" to the baseband network. This pinging generally encompasses multiple towers, so simple triangulation yields a 100 meter or so location radius. Even if only one tower is reachable, the new generation cell towers are directional so the location error doesn't actually increase more than 4x or so.
Lastly, a long talk time is actually bad - it means the phone can be remotely turned on for microphone monitoring, and this is hard to detect.

Posted by: c1ue | Apr 5 2018 18:52 utc | 77

There's a part of me hoping this is a late April Fools joke and b hasn't just given out the exact make and model phone he uses or that b is playing 4-D chess here and he is actually using a very different type of phone.

Posted by: Altai | Apr 5 2018 19:33 utc | 78

As for protecting privacy: the very fact of managing Moon of Alabama means there is no privacy. Google and/or Facebook are already tracking you - even if neither Google Analytics or Facebook Pixel is being used, the very fact that these platforms are so ubiquitous means that it is quite easy to just subtract everyone who doesn't have a complete profile and who visits this site.
Ditto the smartphone vs. "dumb" cell phone. Even if your cell phone doesn't directly track you - if anyone else calls you from a smartphone, their call to/from you puts you into the system.

Posted by: c1ue | Apr 5 2018 22:29 utc | 79

I guess that the operators can query a phone to know its model. Therefore it's simpler for the powers-to-be to find persons.
All in all, I guess that now, with Alexa, Siri, GA, Cortana, etc, smartphones are turning into Multivac terminals.
Let there be light!

Posted by: Vasco Valente | Apr 8 2018 22:48 utc | 80

No matter what phone you decide, keep in mind the levels of EMF you are exposing yourself to by using them. BPEarthwatch opened my eyes to the high levels emitted from most all smart phones and has a couple video's covering the subject. Scientific American just had an article warning of it's dangers. Saw an infared image of a user's head before and after a brief period of use. The after image showed the user's head beet red whereas before it was shades of green and blue(cool). Just saying.

Posted by: str8arrow62 | Apr 9 2018 1:26 utc | 81

str8arrow62 -Right you are!!
No mention of the health affects by anyone else in these comments ????

Posted by: Rick Happ | Apr 9 2018 1:38 utc | 82

I stick to my Nokia 1650 in Sweden and i recently swichted from a Nokia 1610 to an old Samsung in France. The reason is the Nokias bought in Sweden spels swedish but not french whereas the Samsung bought in France by my brother spels french.
I use prepaid SIM-cards as i mostly send/get sms and i otherwise have a handy / mobile phone essentially to be able to call 112 because swedish winter roads are not allways safe for cyclists, not even using Nokia's great winter tyres. (The worst danger, though, being users of smartphones too occupied reading their phone to be able to behave decently; one never knows which trajectory their's is going to be.)
One thing the old Nokias have that the Samsung does not have is a cord attachmment device for what is called in swedish a "senilsnöre", i.e a cord one puts around one's neck. It helps not loosing one's phone (not only senile 70+ like me keep forgetting where they left their gadget) and also having it with you instead of somewhere in the snow when one falls off one's bike.

Well, i never had to call 112 for a broken leg but i still care of my "senilsnöre" and i have tried several times to by a more recent phone, but i never could find one with an attachment for the cord, and small enough to get into my shirt's pocket. Senility has saved my privacy, so far.

The other thing with the Nokias is they are allmost undestructible.
A young(er) blue-collar acquaintance forgot to take his 3310 out of his overall's pocket before washing and after drying the 3310 was still working (maybe with a new battery). Compare with the number of repair-shops living well on repairing smartphones...
(I still use a 3310 as my best alarmklock, the only one i hear when i am deeply asleep.)

A friend of mine who had completely discarded mobile telephony just got compelled to buy a smartphone because some ticket can only be bought that way and some function on his job requires one. So i might have to compel in the near future. has all kinds of batteries (i found one on shelf for my Nokia 3310 there, in Uppsala; 179 SEK, VAT and shipping included) but apparently not for the Ericsson T39M.

Posted by: Guy i Uppsala | Apr 9 2018 15:44 utc | 83

Try Nokia 105, legendary phone which you can use forever. Famous for the nefarious use given to it by Isis, anyway it´s a great device.

Posted by: Adolfo Voss | Apr 10 2018 20:44 utc | 84

These things scare me, too, but isn't any cell phone trackable? Being a cheapskate, I use the web functions only when necessary, like when I'm lost in an unfamiliar neighborhood. I would hate to lose the ability to text, though.

Posted by: Fidelios Automata | Apr 11 2018 3:08 utc | 85

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