In the Privacy Cookbook I have covered cellphones, PCs, even how to reinvent yourself to become more private. Not surprisingly, as it can be a complex and confusing area and despite all the coverage in the mainstream media plus the regular warnings from decentralize.today (amongst others) on Mastodon and in the Privacy Cookbook, I do still get some interesting questions.

"I am an activist - If I am searching for a new cellphone setup, should I go with Samsung or iOS?"

Occasionally, I just don't know how to answer. So, I gave it some thought and came up with this step-by-step guide, I hope it helps.

Firstly, know your treat level. What are you looking for? Are you someone who has invested heavily in Apple before? Are you comfortable with the trackers Apple or Google gives you? Are you on Social Media, and, most of all, are you afraid of what happens down the road with your data? Remember that what may be totally OK in today's world might be not OK (or even legal) 10 years from now.

Category 4

So If you use Social Media like Facebook and WhatsApp, you don't really have to bother asking if Samsung or Apple is the better option — You will get tracked! And your data will get used!

If you use Alexa, Siri, or Google Nest at home, and you use it connected to the same account you use for your cellphone, well then why bother? Take the phone you like most or buy the phone which has the best camera, etc.

If you separate your WireTab smart speaker from your main account, and don't even have it on your family link, you have achieved a little more privacy. They'll probably figure out that it's you in the same house, but still separate those two, if you can.

If you are one of the people in this first category, you can use DNS and block some trackers with a DNS blocklist on DNS level. You will get more privacy out of this, even when using Social Media and with all the tracking devices installed at your home. Use any DNS you trust, I recommend NextDNS as you can block a lot at a DNS level. This goes too for iOS users.

However, settings - Network & Internet - Advanced - Private DNS and set anything you trust and like. Even just something like:

dns.quad9.net or fdns1.dismail.de

Consider switching off Location Services, as you do not need this on all the time.

As you see in Category 4, you do not have to worry what brand you buy.

Category 3

You quit Social Media or have replaced Facebook, Twitter and co with Mastodon and other suitable replacements. Furthermore, you understand about surveillance capitalism and do not want to receive targeted ads and have your information shared around the internet data sharks. So now go to a stronger DNS level setup. Like NextDNS and even RethinkDNS on Android. Consider AdGuard Pro on iOS.

You should use open-source software and perhaps replace your Google PlayStore with F-Droid. If you are on iOS, log out of the iCloud! Use encrypted messaging like Signal, Element or Threema.

Even in Level 3 you do not need to bother about what cellphone you get, just get rid of the intrusive apps and do not log in to Apple or Google. Switch off location Services! And remove the most intrusive apps, like Facebook and co., via ADB.

Just as in all categories:

Settings - Network & Internet - Advanced - Private DNS and set anything you trust and like. Even just something like:

dns.quad9.net or fdns1.dismail.de

Category 2

You would like to be as private as possible, yet still rely heavily on Google Play Services and co. Well, you have some great options, get a Pixel Phone and get CalyxOS or GrapheneOS.

With Calyx you can have microG (if you so choose), and you won't have much trouble even with banking apps and co. You will have a pretty good setup.

With GrapheneOS you can even have a more hardened setup and with the new implementation of the Google Play service (fully isolated) in a work profile you can install anything that is on the Playstore from the Playstore!

I would still recommend, for both Calyx and GrapheneOS, to not use the Playstore, and if you need an app from the store that has no FOSS alternative, well, then use Aurora anonymously.

This category is excellent, and will work for many people and with the upcoming Pixel 6, you will even be able to use a true flagship phone in this category. I know…the irony...get a Google phone to leave Google for good!

As always, use a DNS or even RethinkDNS and lockdown every app that doesn't Internet access. GrapheneOS has its settings to block network access for each app. It works as advertised! So RethinkDNS is not needed, but I would still use it on top!

Other than that — settings - Network & Internet - Advanced - Private DNS and set anything you trust and like. Even just something like:

dns.quad9.net or fdns1.dismail.de

Category 1

These are the activists! The journalists and people who truly need privacy. The question "iPhone or Samsung?" should not even cross your mind! I'll even go so far as to say MicroG should not even cross your mind!

Get a Laptop, perhaps from System76 (which has laptops with coreboot). Install SchildiChat or Element, perhaps install Signal and verify the number on a burner phone. You can also get numbers on textverify or other services. Use an email forwarding service and have your email PGP encrypted.

Privacy Cookbook - Chapter 10.1 - Identity Preservation - Email
One of the biggest security issues around today’s internet world is email. Afterall, this is something that has been around for a relatively long time andemails are needed on almost every website you sign up to. So, as we know, anemail is a pretty easy point of failure and can give away a lot of …

If you do need a cellphone, get a Pixel and use GrapheneOS. Do not use the Play Services. Use a secure DNS, perhaps use RethinkDNS and block all apps, but the few you really need online from the internet, combined with the RethinkDNS service and block all trackers and services you do not use! Use only F-Droid as your App store, only download apps you need on to your phone. Do the rest on your Laptop.

Use the Tor browser and/or RethinkDNS orbit setup. This, and not 'iPhone vs Samsung'. should be the only consideration for an activist.

Regardless of which category you are in, there is no reason to buy apps with your credit card, you can use Bitrefill to get Play Services and Apple load. You also have no reason to use your real country of origin or your real name! Rethink Privacy!

Privacy Cookbook Ch 10 - Identity Preservation - Hiding in Plain Sight
Let’s suppose that you really do want to be anonymous on the internet, soperhaps you have chosen to go with Linux, with a secure setup, ditching Windowsand all the other data collection services from your hard drive, or at leastfound the right browser, maybe even gone with the tor-browser and at …

Stay safe, and consider being more private!

Privacy Cookbook Ch 10.4 Identity Preservation - new devices
The Privacy Cookbook usually provides guidance and instructions on how to makeyour existing hardware more secure. In today’s chapter section, I want to coverthe question”if you are up for a new device, what should I get?” CellphoneWhen it comes to cellphones, let’s be blunt, you will never be pr…