I’m a big proponent of digital privacy and I’ll preach to anyone who will hear to educate yourselves about how to protect yourselves online. The Electronic Frontier Foundation and, specifically, it’s Surveillance Self-Defense section are great places to get started.
I’m an Apple user. All of my smart phones have been iPhones. I’m pretty satisfied with that. When I worked for Apple, I saw lots of big and little things that were done to protect customer privacy. Apple’s recent fight with the FBI over the San Bernardino shooters’ phone was simply great. The trouble is that Apple has to compete with Amazon and Google who have I have far less faith with my personal information. As such, I think that there are services and choices that Apple makes that improves the customer experience, but plays a bit more loose with data collection than I’d like, and therefore may risk bleeding some of that information out to parties unknown.
My next computer will likely be from Purism, or if a decent competitor comes up, I’ll look at them too. Their recently announced tablet/laptop combo looks like it’d be right up my alley. Purism is also on working on getting the Free Software Foundation’s endorsement, which is no easy feat. I’d make sure I’d get it with Qubes OS, which I feel is one of the most important operating system projects going on right now. As a disclaimer, I think that Purism is on the right track, but I share Joanna Rutkowska’s skepticism that they’ve made any significant difference in hardware security and that their PR seems to be needlessly aggressive.
If Bunnie Huang’s Novena was a slightly more mature product, I’d get one of those. I’ve enjoyed keeping tabs on Bunnie since his Chumby, which I had and really enjoyed. I’d very much like a Novena in a laptop form factor, but a fellow would need some tin snips or something to make their own.
The phone situation is a little more tricky. Mobile phones, smart or otherwise, leak information constantly and are big time privacy holes. I really like the iOS ecosystem. But what’s going on under the hood of my iPhone? As I’ve said, I’ve got a great deal of trust in Apple, but when it comes to my privacy, they’re not at the top of the list.
If I could figure out a way to get away with not having a smart phone at all, I would, but it’s 2016 and I work in technology. I’d be a tough sell to jettison it.