Government surveillance

Hi everybody,
I’ve just read this news :

Could anyone of you, expert about GPS and tracking, inform us if and how /e/ OS is able to prevent this government tracking and surveillance ?
In another words : is a smartphone set up with /e/ OS will keep me safe from government surveillance ?
Please explain as if I was 4 years old because I’m completely stupid about this topic.
Thank you in advance.

Regain your privacy! Adopt /e/ the unGoogled mobile OS and online servicesphone

No one will be able because the your phone provider is delivering the data. As soon as your phone is on, he gets the data
The only way to stop is using your phone in flight mode.

it won’t i guess, if you understood the principle of trigonometry, dunno if that is the case with a 4 years old, this procedure can be used to track at least approximatly the location of a phone between sender, satellite and receptor (phone), so it is more that the way the reception on cell phones work, that cannot be exactly prevented. hope i could maybe clear things a little bit up.

For the cellular system to work it needs to adjust for the time the radio signal travels between the phone and cell tower. Time is related to distance from the tower. Your phone connects to multiple towers to be ready to hand off to another tower when you move around. Hence the system knows your distance from several towers and from there it is simple triangulation to work out where you are. This will work for any cellular phone, smartphone, basic phone, feature phone. The only way to avoid it is to stop connection to towers by using flight mode or disabling the radio part of the phone.


Thank you harvey186, Chimpthepimp and rurmonas for your answers.
The French government is considering setting up this solution called “backtracking” :

Well, I don’t think /e/ can help quite a lot in here.
Government survelliance are usually not that easily detected like in-app trackers, which can be detected using exodus/Classyshark, they prefer some “lower-level” approaches like the proprietary code inside your phone’s telecomm modules.

To continue on the theme of mass surveillance via smartphone, do you know how companies (Neura\ Israel) manage to retrieve all the data from the terminal’s sensors?

Apparently they are able to determine brightness, acceleration, general mood… Around the device.

Are ecosystems such as /e/ concerned by this type of leakage?

Thank you for the advice of enlightened people on the subject.


I think it’s time for an easy to use IMEI changer


I am not sure IMEI change will help, Operators have your phone/SIM number so they will still know who you are.

There’s already an IMEI changer in F-droid, just search for it and you’ll find it.

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Don’t use a smartphone, ever. When you do not want to be tracked and traced by governments and corporate business. If you don’t want to be tracked by a government, never use a mobile phone at all. You’ll even have to take out the battery. But these days everybody has to stay put, at home. So it becomes real easy to track those who still are allowed to leave their homes, even without technology. In a democracy corporate business surveillance is the real problem, and the applications distributed by our governments make mobile phones of citizens and the governments of those citizens slaves of corporate business. That is the real problem. My smartphone-days are over.


That’s not enough, @pjmbraet, you have to stop going out in public at all, because of all the surveillance cameras and facial recognition, and even then governments and corporations will know you are home. Of course, for the moment, you can go around in public wearing a mask, and thus maybe defeat some biometrics. Be sure to walk differently than you usually do, change your apparent height and weight and sex frequently, etc. I hate the Surveillance State and Surveillance Capitalism too, but it seems all we can do is apply a little friction by using things like /e/ and VPN, buy only in cash, etc. Most people around the world prefer convenience and “cool tech” over privacy. In that sense, the vision of /e/ to try to make privacy convenient and cool too is great. I hope it can succeed.


Btw there was a campaign where two women painted their faces so that public surveillance’s biometric face recognition would not recognize them :slight_smile:

Me too. Nowadays there is some talk by politicians in my country about a Corona infection App, I’m trying to convince some politicians to make all official apps like identification app for authorities, small payment apps, and this health app that’s debated now, available for all mobile OS’s without the services of G00gl. That is all I can do for /e/, and the way to prevent this app to become mandatory (some politicians always seem to want to follow the bad Chinese example) because availability of all these official apps on all Mobile Operating Systems would mean the average mobile user has to learn using social media and games on mobile devices is at their own risk and responsibility. Politicians 'll choose not to use a health control system like that, just like they stopped talking about a mandatory app for car drivers.

One of the practices I’ve been doing is using a Faraday pouch when out in public. This disconnects all wireless technologies to the phone regardless of battery or ON state, and I can still use it in the off chance I NEED to use it. No, I am not ‘addicted’ to my phone, either. No FB account ever, nor Twitter, Insta, etc. Breaking the Zombies from their phones is an uphill battle, one I don’t need to fight.
Edit: I should add that NetGuard also does an excellent job of locking down comm’s from apps, and can even disable GSF, if your running a G’d rom. This is more data privacy than connectivity/tracking, however. Tools and incremental steps, nonetheless.

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It is true that Ch1n@ uses (really!) lots of proprietary software and service to get the job done, but please don’t make comments that counld lead to some meaningless “Chinese-hatred”, at least they effectively defeated the virus and are helping out generously.
If you didn’t meant that, I apologize.

Anyway, it’s still a long-long way to go before the idea of Free Software gets widely and correctly taken by Ch1nese. Many Ch1nese take the word “freedom” too politically as if the speaker is a spy.

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Just like you ask others not to make comments fueling the “Chinese-hatred”, don’t make comments that are completely off-topic and spread misinformation about a very serious epidemic.

The Mainland Chinese government has covered up the reality of an unknown, highly-contagious, deadly virus by means of censorship, violence and oppression. They refused international help until it was far too late to contain the extent of the disease. They asked the world to be thankful for their efforts containing the virus, but to the date is still unclear what the real numbers are.

Speaking of government surveillance, it is illegal in Mainland China to spread rumours or misinformation through social media; hence the censorship and oppression.

Is there one? Is it even possible to change the IMEI? You can spoof the MAC, not sure about the IMEI.

They are talking about masking the IMEI. That’s something different.