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I have read that devices such as the old Nokia 8310 are used because the privacy/anonymity they provide (for instance for drug dealers)

I have tried to find out if the 'new' vanilla Nokias, such as Nokia 105, provide the same level of privacy. I have found that they don't have GPS and use Symbian, but haven't found any actual comparison between them.

Do these 'revived' vanilla Nokias still provide the same level of privacy as the true old ones?

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It depends on what kind of privacy you are talking about.

If it's about the carrier/government knowing all places you go, when you are moving, when you are not, where you live, whom you call, whom you text, who calls you, it does not change much: triangulation will show your coarse position on a modern smartphone and a dumb cellphone the same way, and the call/text metadata is still available for the carrier and government, and this data does not depend on the phone.

But if for privacy you mean all the trackers embedded on Android or iOS apps, there's a difference. Those vintage phones have very simple operational systems, no GPS, no WIFI, no cameras, no bluetooth, usually cannot multi-task, cannot run Java applications, cannot load applications larger than a couple kB, and usually cannot load anything running javascript, or even HTML. So email tracking usually won't work, tracking apps aren't easily available, and current exploits won't work. Some of them won't even have a SIM card, so that path isn't available for exploit either.

It's almost like running MS-DOS today: you cannot get a tracker written on .NET to run. You cannot exploit a drive-by download vulnerability on it. You cannot exploit SAMBA on it. Those vectors won't work because the attack surface lacks a lot of components.

It's better? Sure!

It's perfect? No. You can still be tracked, in a more limited fashion, but can be tracked.

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  • But let's say you buy the phone with cash, and the same for the SIM card. The carrier / government will be able to track 'someone' , but they can't know it is you. Unlike modern smartphones, with all those accounts apps etc. Does this work the same way for old nokias and 'new old ones' such as nokia 105?
    – Martel
    Sep 9 '20 at 8:27
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    It's like the Bitcoin blockchain: everything and everyone is recorded, and if you make one mistake, all your past actions can be easily correlated to you.
    – ThoriumBR
    Sep 9 '20 at 12:19

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