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Technology / Cybersecurity

5 top apps on Android & iOS to protect your privacy from sneaky spooks

Privacy has been surging up the technology agenda of late, with the British and American governments recently causing controversy by fiddling with their rules around snooping.

Meanwhile in Europe, the Belgian privacy commissioner recently decided to take Facebook to court over claims that it tracks people on the web, a suit that follows similar cases in the UK and the US involving other Silicon Valley leviathans.

Even with these cases caught in bureaucratic logjam, consumers can still take steps to protect their private lives from the prying eyes of governments and cybercriminals. As such CBR has put together a selection of top privacy apps for your smartphone, so you can protect yourself.

1. RedPhone – Phone Calls

Platform: Android

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Though many of the most prominent spying programmes uncovered by the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden concerned metadata of calls – in other words the details rather than the content – some will want extra assurance that their conversations are private.

This is where RedPhone comes in. Both free and open source, the Android app allows users to call others using a regular phone number, transmitting the signal across a Wi-Fi or data connection. Aside from any data charges all calls are free, and can be made internationally.

2. Signal – Messaging

Platform: iOS

Much like RedPhone, Signal allows users to make private, encrypted calls and send anything from pictures to videos without incurring text message or call charges. It even has push notifications just like the other leading messaging apps.

Designed by Open Whisper Systems, the app is open source, with all the code uploaded to the repository GitHub. What is more the group behind the code has an influential backer: None other than Snowden himself recommends the company.

3. SpiderOak – Storage

Platform: Android and iOS

Another firm backed by Snowden, SpiderOak offers "zero-knowledge" cloud storage across mobile and other devices, meaning that the company knows nothing about the data you upload, download and transfer.

Whilst the company is geared towards privacy it also offers a number of features allowing you to share files with friends. The only drawback is that free storage totals a mere 2GB – anymore and you will need to pay a rolling subscription.

4. DuckDuckGo – Search

Platform: Android and iOS

Most search engines collect reams of data on their users, allowing them to refine the results, improve the experience, and most importantly target advertising towards them so the service is profitable.

DuckDuckGo is built on a different philosophy. Instead of tracking users the engine keeps everybody anonymous, ensuring that the sensitive information that can be divulged through a search history is never exploited.

5. Lookout – Mobile Security

Platform: Android and iOS

Security software is overlooked by users more often on mobile than on desktops and laptops, perhaps because the devices tend not to prompt users with scary warnings if they realise there is no firewall or antivirus on the device.

Available for both the major smartphone platforms, Lookout’s app combines antivirus with safe browsing, remote wiping and – perhaps most intriguingly – a so-called "theftie", in which the phone emails a photo and location to the owner when someone else "messes with your device".
This article is from the CBROnline archive: some formatting and images may not be present.