Got a new phone this week, a shiny, new and powerful Samsung S22 Ultra. Switching phones is such a pain, right? Before you can load your own data and restore backups you have to validate encryption and ensure cloud sync/backups are turned off, otherwise Samsung, Google and Microsoft slurp up a copy as soon as you restore your backup “for your protection”. While it can be convenient and make it much easier to switch phones, you’re giving your information to not only these businesses but to our government. Their job is not your personal privacy but our “collective safety”, so they take it upon themselves to analyze every image and document on your phone for anything inappropriate and then throw you in jail until you can prove innocence.

I personally know someone who was arrested due to a photo of his niece that the Powers that Be thought was inappropriate, so off to jail he went, they just went to his house, picked him up and hauled him off. Attorneys and jail time later, it’s up to the family to prove to a judge that the government doesn’t have a case after charges were pressed… but he lost his job long before the court date, not to mention the social stigma et al.  Was the photo inappropriate?  Parents have had bathtub photos of their children ever since cameras were invented but one person’s “cute” is another person’s “kiddie porn”, and the problem is that the most strict interpretation is now reviewing everyone’s family photos. The sentence is coming even before the case is drafted: you’re just taken away, and the government builds a case while you lose your livelihood.

Cops are already taking copies of people’s phones at traffic stops, but now they don’t even have to do that: because Samsung, Google and Microsoft have agreements with law enforcement, the feds get a copy of our data in the blink of an eye, which are then analyzed in real time for any content they deem objectionable.

What I discovered with my new phone is that the backups are being taken even before they’re configured!  Remember how you used to not set up cloud backups at all? 

Now, they’re set up alright, just not by you.

Put another way, when you get your new phone, you have to configure cloud backups in order to disable them!

After your password is set, encryption status is validated and after configuring backups just so you can turn them off, then you can restore your backups to your phone with some modicum of confidence that your data won’t leave your mobile device.

Businesses don’t have this problem: the moment you attach the mobile device to an enterprise management framework, cloud sync is disabled by policy. Again, these problems are only for the public, businesses don’t allow government to snoop on their interests regardless of their potentially doing anything illegal, so why should we stand for it?

Remember that if you’re a citizen and you’re not using a business phone, there’s no business that will protect your interests so you have to do this yourself.  Take the time – it’ll take hours – to configure a brand new phone.  Use a strong password, validate encryption and then configure and disable cloud backups.  After all this, log into the Google, Samsung and Microsoft privacy webb portals and ensure they have no information from your new device – this will take another hour. They very well might, so you’ll have to take the time to delete what they copied off since the moment you powered up your phone.

Now you can restore your backups, and yes, you have to manage backups yourself – no cloud!

So you “have nothing to hide” – most of us don’t, but the fifth amendment effectively states someone can’t press charges upon you without having a case first, that they have to bring their own evidence and that you’re innocent until proven guilty. Protecting your personal information doesn’t mean you’re inherently guilty of something, that’s nothing but modern bullshit being spoonfed to us by people who want to evaluate our information to send us advertisements… or to jail even before they have a case “just in case” we’re a perv. 

This means you.

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