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I'm learning about privacy and security and one of the tips everyone always talk about is compartmentalization, I'm trying to do this and get rid of my old profiles in social media (one of them have 10 years since I made it), I'm planing to make new ones where I won't be giving up too much information about myself.

The problem is, in Brazil (I don't know about other parts of the world), our phone number are attached to our 'CPF'(Cadastro de pessoas físicas), it's like the ID in US I think, this is the main way to identify a person, and we don't have anything like a burn phone.

Today gmail and facebook always ask for phone numbers, so, what now?

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  • What any individual service requires to open an account is entirely up to them.
    – schroeder
    Dec 18 '19 at 11:28
  • There are some services out there that might let you get a "digital" phone number. Google voice comes to mind but I'm uncertain if it will work for this in practice - I haven't really used it Dec 18 '19 at 12:32
  • Please provide the facts reference.
    – mootmoot
    Dec 18 '19 at 13:58
  • And note that Google (for example, and Outlook and Yahoo and ...) don't accept virtual burner phones for registration. It's not an easy problem.
    – gowenfawr
    Dec 18 '19 at 14:01
  • use a land line phone# and then change or cancel that phone#. You can connect your land line to google voice if you need to send texts. I don't have a cell phone but I'm still able to use gmail/facebook, etc...
    – pcalkins
    Jan 17 '20 at 21:15
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Today gmail and facebook always ask for phone numbers, so, what now?

Get an anonymous phone number. Whilst your country may not allow them, plenty do, and as modern cell networks allow roaming, you can use a foreign SIM card.

You could even use a VoIP provider, such as google Voice (which requires an american phone number to register, but not use for receiving SMS and VoIP calls). USA notably does not require any registration of telco customers.

You can order such SIM cards on eBay.

If you want to be even more anonymous, only use the SIM card in a phone bought with cash, and in public areas in a large city.

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This might not be the answer you are looking for, but if you are really concerned about your privacy on social networks, then you should probably not register on Google or Facebook at all, and you should avoid their services. Chances are they will end up "guessing" your real phone number anyway, since they collect and analyze every possible piece of data that are available to them, either directly or through any third party services. They are everywhere, and everyone and everything is using their services, so today it's really very hard to avoid them completely.

Just to give you a stupid example, even this website (StackExchange) actually loads the jQuery library from Google. Your favorite app might be using Google's or Facebook's services behind the scenes, or might even be bought by them at some point. Another interesting thing to keep in mind is that Gmail is scanning the content of the emails, so what stops them from collecting your personal data from there? Every time you buy something online, the confirmation email will contain your name, your address, etc. And no matter if you use Gmail or not, just sending an email to someone@gmail.com writing "Hello, I'm John Doe" might be enough for Google to associate your name to your address, IP, and who knows what else.

That's why I gave up worrying about Google knowing my phone number. If I want to use their services, I'll accept that privacy is not an option. If I really wanted serious privacy, I'd have to avoid all of their services completely, which I don't really want to, plus I know it'd be very hard to do.

If you want a temporary phone number, Vidarlo gave you some good tips. You'll probably have to buy a SIM card illegally (without registration) or buy a foreign SIM card online. But remember that, as I said, the fight against Google and Facebook is much more complicated that this.

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