New Phone Who Dis?
These days, we might as well have our
NSA tracking numbers phone numbers tattooed on our foreheads. Those digits have become identifiers, more and more. I’ve had my primary number for ~20 years, and can’t even begin to count every business, person and entity that links that number to my life. A short list of places that require a person to have a phone number:
- Social media sites like Twitter
- Doctors offices and medical records
- Some retail stores actually start an in-person payment with, can I get your phone number?
- Banks, credit cards, and wealth management institutions
- Password recovery services
- Grocery store discount cards, and if you forget your card, can just tell the cashier your phone number
- Even Signal, one of the most popular privacy messaging apps
Why is this a problem? Data on too many insecure databases invariably lands in the lap of criminals. Sim-swap fraud is too easy and has risen dramatically over the past five years. If anyone has just two pieces of information, your name and phone number, they can call each of the big 3 telephone companies and say “Hi, my name is ___ and I just got a new phone. Could you switch it over for me?” Many new or poorly trained phone company employees will do it. Then the criminal has access to your entire phone. At that point, even 2FA won’t stop them.
That’s why I purchased an anonymous number from Number Protector (and paid with ZEC). Number Protector collects NO personal information. No name. No email address. No credit card. It utilizes the magic of Ycash, or in my case Zcash, to deliver messages while breaking the exploitable link between phone number and identity.
My new number is perfect for signing up for services that require it. SMS codes work perfectly. Text messages sent to the number are transformed into a shielded Zcash memo and sent to my z-address, which I can check at my leisure.
This is a phone number I feel comfortable giving to anyone and everyone. In fact, here it is: +44 772 314 9704. That’s the telos of privacy technology – to not hide but enable living openly in society with tools of empowerment and protection.