Burner Phone or Degoogled Phone?

One client asked me what phone would be good for a burner phone. I asked them “What purpose were they wanting the burner phone to fulfill?”

Most of us have probably watched an action movie where the hero or the thief contacts a pursuing party and then throws the phone away in a garbage can. Why do they throw the phone away? Because having the phone on them would allow their location to be triangulated by the SIM card. If their location is known, then they would be captured and all sorts of nasty stuff could be done to them.

If your threat model is not as severe as these movie characters and you just want to escape the surveilling eye of Big Tech or government, then I don’t think that most of us have to revert to buying a multitude of burner phones and throwing them away after a use or two.

Instead, if I was Jason Bourne (action hero pictured above), and my goal was to not have my location discovered when I had to make a phone call to someone, then instead of buying burner phones, I would buy anonymous burner SIM cards on different carriers. And use those anonymous SIM cards on a degoogled phone.

After making the short (don’t give them too much time to triangulate the signal) call, I would then put the degoogled phone in airplane mode or safer, remove that SIM card and mark that I used that SIM card already. I could throw away that SIM card after a number of uses and put in a new anonymous SIM card in the same degoogled phone.

And better than contacting someone over a cellphone carrier phone or text, is to get them to install Session private messenger and get them to Session you their Session ID on a temporary Session ID of your own. Then you can Session them on the same or any new Session ID that you create, either on a degoogled phone in airplane mode (just to play it extra safe) or on your laptop. You could Session them a recorded voice message. Just tell them to be in WiFi coverage.

I believe that the Session developers will introduce audio calling in early 2022. That will be privacy game changer as then we can talk to each other without our location being discovered. No cellphone carrier required, just WiFi.

Why is communicating over Session private messenger better for your privacy? Because no cellphone carrier is involved where your location can be triangulated. Your location cannot be determined when you communicate over Session private messenger because of the use of the 3 node decentralized Lokinet hopping method involved with Session message transmission (similar to the Tor onion network but using instead, Session’s Lokinet). Plus no metadata such as the IP address of the wifi network is transmitted by Session.

There’s probably still a use case for burner phones and throwing them away for folks who are really doing dangerous work. For most of us normies, probably not. Stick with a degoogled privacy phone and either burner anonymous SIM cards if you have to phone or text them on a cellphone carrier. Or better, communicate on Session private messenger on a degoogled phone with no SIM card or in airplane mode, or on a laptop, where your location can’t be determined.