One more reason to get an iPod Touch, you probably haven't thought about.
In the wake of a massive data breach at the expense of the popular, and very controversial, Ashley Madison dating website, as a result of which, the identity of 37 million people have been compromised, the topic of online information privacy has gained renewed traction among consumers.
The problem with carrying a smartphone, or any 3G or 4G LTE data enabled device, is that there is no way to keep any type of communication, truly private, except when using iMessage, and such encryption only works when a handshake is made with another device that uses iMessage or comparably solid encryption protocol.
Most consumers don’t really use iMessage except with people they know directly, such as coworkers, family and friends. Any other type of communication is usually carried through apps that use weak or no encryption. Worst of all, this type of communication is not only text based, but often contains multimedia attachments, such as pictures, and audio/video recordings that can be intercepted and used to gain access to more personal information such as financial details.
The other problem is that smartphones constantly connect and disconnect from one mobile tower to the next, to maintain the best possible signal. This activity can be tracked, alongside any other wireless communication that might be taking place in the meantime. The result is an up-to-the-minute, accurate map of a user’s private communication activity and location, which can be used by cyber criminals, for a number of nefarious purposes, such as identity theft, and more.
Devices exist, such as the
Black Phone, that are capable of encrypting all types of communication completely. The problem with devices like these, aside from the sizable price tag, is that consumers must also adapt to a different mindset, geared towards security, and develop habits that are simply too hard to fit into the average user’s lifestyle.
There are ways to use a smartphone safely, at least when it comes to keeping communication private. Using iMessage with another user who also uses iMessage, creates a line of communication that is completely encrypted. In fact, such communication is so secure that the FBI has been trying convince Apple, to create a back-channel through it, for government use, because they simply could not bypass it.
This is where the iPod Touch comes in...
...as a cheap and easy solution for keeping communication private, while leaving a fainter trail behind when traveling.
The iPod Touch does not use a data plan, and does not connect to cell phone towers, which minimizes the amount of activity that can be tracked in real-time. The iPod Touch uses Location Based Services for Maps, instead of GPS. LBS is a form of “assisted GPS”, which relies on data fed through WiFi or other network, without the need of satellite connectivity. Because this form of data sharing is done over WiFi, location information can be harder to match to real-life information, because Location Based Services can be easily spoofed via the system or through apps, whereas the GPS location cannot be manipulated as it’s fed in real time from a GPS chip.
There is a number of apps that provide a fairly high level of encryption when communicating to other users. These apps make it easy to exchange private information, as they cannot be accessed by other networks, including cellular.
Signal is an app endorsed by Edward Snowden himself, and developed by Open Whisper. Signal allows not only to send private messages to other users of the same app, it also allows for encrypted voice communication, over WiFi.