Pinephone Privacy Tips (Videos/Writeup)

Pinephone Privacy Tips (Videos/Writeup)

Sep 30, 2021

DISCLAIMER: Pinephone is not (at this time) recommended outside experienced Linux users and tinkerers. Those who don't mind fixing things on their own.

Still, I use mine as a daily driver. As I always wanted a Linux computer, in my pocket.

Calls/sms work.

Think of a Pinephone more as a Linux computer in your pocket, with capability to act as a phone (Computer-like in all things considered: 1+ day battery/software). Most Linux applications can compile/run.

This post contains options you might like to try: doesn't mean you need to implement everything into your device. Everything makes a difference.

See 72 videos Pinephone Playlist

The goal: Introduce as many Linux aficionados as possible to a promising open source (focused) alternative to the main 2 proprietary Smartphone OS "duopoly".

Long-term centralization of smartphones has always been a danger to future (and present) online/tech freedom/liberty. If the world at large sticks to 2 closed off, closely aligned ecosystems, we can expect to stay in whatever box they wish to build for us. And such a box is likely to become increasingly restrictive/intrusive.

(Innovation goeth the direction of funding-- and direction of funding goeth direction of highest shareholder profits (See: surveillance capitalism is undermining Democracy)

Some see jailbroke/stripped down/customized versions of duopoly OS' as a complete solution...

I'm not so sure about this in the long term.

Real OS diversity becoming more mainstream/"normalized" ensures the best chance of protecting our digital rights

For a Tech Freedom future: we need to explore and participate in serious OS alternatives:

And right now the Pinephone, Librem5, Fairphone, Pro1 X are a few of the main projects I see deserving of our attention/support to get us there.

A few of the main (currently maintained) Linux Pinephone Operating Systems:

In The Beginning There Was The N900:

The N900: a Linux phone cult classic!

Ran surprisingly well (according to users- I wasn't lucky enough to try one).

And now on to the topic of conversation:


Today's video (uses Pinetab for larger display- same underlying hardware/software/OS) covered a few of the basics (off top of my head). This article expands on the tips with additional. I was working off the cuff, missing a few things I wanted to include.

The above video lists:


The first thing I install on a new operating system as we live in a world where department stores and many others run wifi device sniffing tracking beacons. This ensures the mac address and other metadata does not leak to tracking.

Some of these wifi device tracking systems share/sell the mapped out tracking data to data brokers. I will cover more on this in future videos.

A more public example of this is wigle. See my python script 'mactrack' to see a demo of how these packets can be organized to track via signal strength (trilateration) and the related wipri -s setting below.

Video of MACtrack in action:


Expanding on bullet #2, WiPri Recommendations: -p for home static smartphone mimic and -P for traveling (continuously changing Apple/Samsung mac addresses at continously changing times/mac addresses to help thwart off wifi sniffer trackers)

(Second recommendation option [for privacy geeks] -a mode to synchronize simultaneous continuously changing random mac addresses + signal strengths + hostnames at continuously changing randomized times).

The rest of the options available to try on Pinephone:



wipri -d [device] -r [randomizes mac continually changing times/addresses]
-p [Samsung/Apple: mac address mimic (static hold)] -P [Android/iPhone mac addresses mimic (continually changing times/addresses)] -a [continually randomize MAC, hostname, signal variations] -m [Static MAC] -i [new MAC identity] -h [rand hostname] -H [restore prev hostname] -s [random signals] -A [randomized WiFi


-d sets your device.

-r continually randomizes your mac address at randomly generated, continually changing random MAC addresses/times.

-p Android/iPhone mimic mode: sets single static identity: randomly generated valid mac address of either Apple or Android.

-P Android/iPhone mimic mode: continually changing randomized Samsung/Apple mac address changes- continually changing, at randomized changing times, using continually changing, randomized yet valid OUI Apple/Samsung mac addresses (this setting allows you to appear to WiFi trackers/sniffers [like KISMET] at any given time, as either an Android or iPhone;

-m [mac here] sets a mac address of your choice, holds it for remainder of running (checks to ensure firmware does not reset it)

-h change hostname to generic yet unique and completely random hostname. Using a generic base with random extension at the end of it.

-R restore previously held hostname

-H prints help; print out wipri command examples

-i generates a valid OUI based mac identity

-s txpower randomizer (experimental) randomizes the txpower of your device. This confuses certain WiFI trackers that determine location by signal strength.

-a anonymous mode: launch coordinated random changes: each change happens simultaneously: when the mac address changes so does the hostname and txpower/signal. This is intended to simulate new devices and changing locations. All 3 changes happen simultaneously, at changing, randomized times.

Easy WiPri install script Pinephone demo:

If you have questions on WiPri, leave a comment at the bottom of the page.


For more on Firejail, see my other Firejail video HERE.




I really love Dino. There are many interesting XMPP chatrooms, and the interface is clean.

Dino Website


Disk encryption carries multiple benefits.

Scenario: You lose your phone. If it's encrypted, and off, no one will be able to steal your identity (via information/personal documents/identification) or passwords, personal banking information, etc.

In addition to protecting you from data theft, encryption protects the integrity of your filesystem. If your device is off/encrypted, no one can modify your encrypted files to cause harm.

Many Linux Phone operating systems come with the option to fully encrypt your disk on installation.

I suggest taking advantage of these options.


Additionally (partly for fun) I wrote a script called "crypto_homes" where you can automate the entire process of encrypting your /home directory (allowing for multiple virtual /home sdcards - this can protect your most important files and make portable micro-sdcard $HOME disks.

Not only does crypto_homes encrypt the current /home directory (leaving original for easy reverts back), it also automatically allows you to create usbstick keys (no need to buy expensive usb keys - just a normal usb stick).

Simply place in the microsdcard (for your new encrypted home storage location), insert the usbstick, and run

You will then be able to select any cipher (compiled into your kernel) and set the devices. From here you will be left at a crypthome> shell. Here you can overwrite disks or automate the process of creating an sdcard encrypted /home + usbstick key.

The idea: To allow as many (disposable) encrypted virtual home sdcards as you like (attached to usbkey)

Later, when I get some time, will include other options to manage/protect important data independently.

Crypto_homes video usage demo here:

Take a look at crypto_homes so far here.

For Even More Privacy Tips/Tutorials Check Out The "Privacy" tab of posts/videos:

Are all these steps really necessary?

Absolutely not.

They are all options.

Demonstrations of a few things Linux phones can do! :)

(Try accomplishing all of the above in one of the 2 main closed off ecosystem!)

I'm always looking at/sharing ways we can help protect Human Rights into the future.

In uncertain times, we know not what the future may hold.

Privacy is declared a Universal Human Right in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

Article 12

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.


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