No Surveillance State Month, Part 7: Encrypted Phone Calls

WiretapNews broke yesterday that the NSA secretly collects call data from all major U.S. providers. We all, perhaps, expected this, but The Guardian released proof, in the form of a leaked FISA court order, that en masse collection of the source and destination of every call, the IMEI of cell phones involved in the call, location information, etc. is logged by the government, without requiring you to be on some kind of list. So much for no searches without cause, eh?

Skype used to be a great alternative as it encrypted the data being transmitted, but at this point, it is nearly certain that Skype (now owned by Microsoft) has included back doors in the software to allow for government interception. Now we must turn to other providers who allow for encryption to be used from end to end (when making Internet-to-Internet calls, at least).

Here are a few that I found (and for which I have no association and get no commission):

  • SilentPhone ($49/month — ouch)
  • VSee (Internet-to-Internet only, free)
  • Seecrypt (calls to people with mobile app only, $3/month)

If you know of other good services (especially ones that let you call landlines) please post in the comments and I’ll update the thread.

This is one of a 30-part series, “No Surveillance State Month,” where daily for the month of June I’ll be posting ways to avoid invasion of your privacy in the digital age. The intent of these posts is not to enable one to escape detection while engaging in criminal activity — there’s still the old-fashioned “send a detective to watch you” for which these posts will not help. Rather, this series will help you to opt-out of the en masse collection of data by the government and large corporations that places Americans in databases without their knowing and freely-given consent for indefinite time periods. We all have the right to privacy, and I hope you demand it.

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