Federal agents from the Department of Homeland Security and the Justice Department used “a sophisticated cell phone cloning attack—the details of which remain classified—to intercept protesters’ phone communications” in Portland this summer, Ken Klippenstein reported this week in The Nation. Put aside for the moment that, if the report is true, federal agents conducted sophisticated electronic surveillance against American protesters, an alarming breach of constitutional rights. Do ordinary people have any hope of defending their privacy and freedom of assembly against threats like this?
Yes, they do. Here are two simple things you can do to help mitigate this type of threat:
- As much as possible, and especially in the context of activism, use an encrypted messaging app like Signal — and get everyone you work with to use it too — to protect your SMS text messages, texting groups, and voice and video calls.
- Prevent other people from using your SIM card by setting a SIM PIN on your phone. There are instructions on how to do this below.