As I am looking to reduce our monthly bill of $160 for our mobile service, I kept thinking that all the companies involved in the PRISM debacle weren’t phone carriers, but it is presumed they handed over telephony metadata. That is profound, because a decade ago we were up in arms about how the telcos could work with the government and were not held accountable. We “fixed” those concerns by moving our surveillance apparatus into the cloud providers (software fixes everything!).
I am using CyanogenMod on a Nexus 7 without the Google apps, and it works just fine for me. If it made phone calls, I would be set. I don’t care about texting and phone numbers, because I don’t identify with a number assigned to me by a corporation in an industry that abuses the public commons (air waves) entrusted to them. I require a phone for the peace of mind it extends me in reaching my family during personal emergencies. Merely having a device on my person should not betray my data, meta or otherwise, to an opaque, shady government arm.
Taking this all in, I decided to start messing around with devices in other countries, most of which do not work on so-called 4G networks. But they work with wifi, run recent versions of Android, and can receive and send SMS and voice. I am even considering doing a daily plan, where I only pay $2 on a day that I use the cellular network, because I think that might be really inexpensive for me.
I can’t disregard that most mobile devices (and those for computing in general) are created in inhumane conditions. I don’t feel that I can do my work without such devices, so part of this is to reduce my capitalist footprint, and not pay into human suffering as much.
Let’s see how this goes.