don’t trust your cell phone
Using a cell phone means trading privacy and anonymity for convenience. Why? Two reasons: your carrier needs to know exactly where you are at all times in order to connect you through the closest available cell tower and they need to know what you’re doing in order to bill you accordingly.
If you phone wasn’t attached to your location, you could make or receive calls. This is true even when you’re not making a call, sending or receving a text or surfing. You’re never invisible vis-a-vis your carriers network unless your phone is off. Don’t want to be found? Turn off your phone (and take out the battery for good measure).
Because your phone carrier knows where you are, assume law enforcement does too. In many cases, the police and intelligence community is already in wireless carriers’ server rooms and switches. Don’t assume a court order is necessarily needed to monitor you (or anyone for that matter).
Your location is known in real time. If you’re moving, your route is revealed in relation to local cell towers. Don’t want to be tracked? Turn your phone off, especially when in transit. Remember that knowing what cell towers you’re near can be correlated with any surveillance cameras you pass, GPS & LoJack in your car, credit card records as you shop, etc. Turn off as many gadgets as you can if you want to be invisible.
One alternative is using a burner phone not associated with your real identity. Buy it with cash, somewhere without surveillance cameras, obscure your identity if cameras are present, buy it far from your home and usual haunts (out of town is good), etc.
If you have a burner phone and your real phone, don’t have them on at the same time because you’ll establish linkage between the two. The same goes true for being in a crowd of people on their real phones in front of a store surveillance camera while you all buy something using credit cards.
Lock your phone. Use encryption when possible. Unless you are arrested and your phone is confiscated, never ever surrender it to the police or anyone else for that matter.
Assume you’re talking on a party line. Assume someone (Eve) is listening in. Assume whoever has possession of your phone has access to your contacts and their identities. Use multiple memory cards to compartmentalize your risk. Speak and act accordingly.
Your mobile phone is not as private as you might think.