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I'm in the market for a new phone, and was wondering which modles/operating systems are the best to protect privacy/security. I don't use social media, so won't have Facebook/Twitter,etc. I am fairly diligent about keeping my info. private (i.e. for my browser, I have adblock, ghostery, do not track me ,etc.) and especially with cell phones, which can track me in basically 3D space, I want to find a secure phone that I can keep pretty "info secure".

I was just wondering if anyone has any tips/information on security for Android phones. I have heard of the Blackphone, but that might be overkill. Ideally, the phone would send 0 information about myself to a first or third party, without my knowledge. Is Blackberry's security good? I loved my Pearl when it was out years ago and I'm still open to them (I'm not huge on apps, games, etc.). Also my concern with Android is that since it's a Google company, Google may sneak some data out all the time (my location/GPS coordinates, websites viewed, cookies, apps installed, etc). Is there any way to just use Android OS but break any connection to Google?

Thanks for any suggestions/advice! Or, if there are some websites I can browse (so far I get general reviews from like C-net or something not necessarily discussing privacy/security), I'm all ears!

edit: I'm not looking for "The Samsung Galaxy s10000 is the best". I'm just looking for discussion/reviews of privacy and security that aren't just "superficial" (mainly reviews I see discuss security but only on a surface level, nothing like how the phone tracks/updates/etc.)

closed as primarily opinion-based by RoraΖ, tlng05, Iszi, gowenfawr, schroeder Jul 21 '15 at 19:10

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    I understand there is definitely opinion, but any help directing me to sites that discuss it would be appreciated. Also, surely there's some objective standards that can be discussed? – BruceWayne Jul 21 '15 at 17:42
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    My gut reaction (and what I ended up clicking) was "opinion-based" too. But really the most appropriate close reason for this is "shopping recommendation". In the past, we also might have flagged it as "too localized". Other elements of your question push it towards "too broad" as well. Overall, it's just really not a good fit for the StackExchange format. – Iszi Jul 21 '15 at 18:22
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    I'll edit the question a little then - basically, I'm having trouble finding some more in depth/explanatory info about phones and security and thought this might be a place to start looking. – BruceWayne Jul 21 '15 at 18:28
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    @user3578951 You're definitely welcome to peruse the existing questions here, and to ask about any specific aspects of phone security that you don't understand. But we don't do open-ended lists (e.g.: references to sites/articles) that will likely change in value and validity over time, nor could we possibly cover the entire topic for you without posting a full book. – Iszi Jul 21 '15 at 18:32
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    @user3578951 Actually, it's more of an SE thing than a "you're a phone/security newbie" thing. You should check out the Help Center and peruse the site a bit before asking your next question, to get a better idea of the Q&A format and quality expectations. – Iszi Jul 21 '15 at 18:46
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This may not survive as it's a bit off topic for the site, but yeah there's some non-Google Android based options.

The best known is likely Cyanogen Mod. This can be retro-fitted to a wide variety of Android devices and removes a lot of the direct ties to Google.

Another option to look at is Sailfish OS which whilst it's not Android, has a focus on providing compatibility with Android apps.

On the app. store side there's F-Droid which provides a catalogue of Open Source Android applications.

  • OnePlus One phone is based on Cyanogen Mod, with their OnePlus Two (coming out later this year) having a different their own Android Open Source OS. – RoraΖ Jul 21 '15 at 18:19
  • Thanks! I've heard of Cyanogen before, I'll look in to that, and Sailfish OS. – BruceWayne Jul 21 '15 at 18:20
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I'm not sure your focus should be so much on hardware rather than software. Of course, a handset made out of completely free hardware will tend to be more secure since the design and therefore it's firmware would be "crowd sourced." Like someone else already mentioned, Cyanogen Mod and other ROM's, preferably ones with the source code readily available are probably going to be your best bet. Follow guides like the following, as much as is practical anyway. Determine your "threat model," and don't deviate from it, ever.

https://blog.torproject.org/blog/mission-impossible-hardening-android-security-and-privacy

  • Understood about hardware v. software - although the two are pretty intertwined with mobile phones these days (Apple, for instance), I understand the real thing I'm interested in is the software. Thanks for the link! – BruceWayne Jul 21 '15 at 18:44

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