Submitted by vandemic in Privacy

Hey all,

I don't know about other countries, but here in Canada you need to present photo ID when you buy phone/SIM card from cell phone providers like Koodo, Telus, Bell, etc.

One thing I've done in the past to get around this was to buy used smartphones off private sellers, without a SIM card. What I did back then was download a virtual number app such as TextNow or Fongo to generate a random number I could use to register with apps like Signal, WhatsApp and Telegram.

Unfortunately, this technique hasn't been working as well for me lately. Recently, I tried to set up a phone like this, and had no luck registering with WhatsApp and Telegram. Signal was OK, but it's still a problem because most people I know are using WhatsApp anyway. I also happen to really like Telegram because of the many online communities that use it. So yeah, it appears that companies are making it more difficult to register with virtual numbers, and that's a problem for people who value their anonymity

Does anyone know any way to workaround this? What's more is that even if I find a way to get Telegram and WhatsApp working over a virtual number... to be honest, it kinda sucks not having a SIM card. It'd be nice to be able to use data and not have to rely on public wifi all the time to send and receive text messages. Any advice on that front as well?

I've researched this a few months ago, but all the apps they recommended weren't working for me when I tried them.

Would getting a SIM card for a smartphone from another country that doesn't ID you work just as well?

Thanks, all.

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AlyoshaK wrote

Do you need to present an ID for a prepaid phone, too? I'm in the US and I just bought one at a department store with cash -- all that's tied to my account is an email.

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vandemic OP wrote

I dunno. Maybe it's different for regular dumbphones, but I'm looking for an anonymous phone that was... you know... made sometime in the last fucking century lol like with capabilities for encrypted messaging.

It's annoying that we seem to be faced with either two options:

  1. get a smartphone (zero anonymity)

or

  1. get a dumbphone (zero security)

Is it too much to ask to have both?!

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avbeav wrote (edited )

  • Buy a (or borrow..?) dumbphone with cash
  • Buy a SIM card with cash
  • Sign up for Signal using signal-cli and dumbphone
  • Install Signal Desktop on your secure GNU/Linux laptop
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masque wrote

I've used a prepaid plan available at 7-11 called SpeakOut. I don't remember whether you need to present ID to get it, but you might not have to (since there's no contract). Might be worth checking out.

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vandemic OP wrote

I'll check out the 7-11s. Yeah there's a camera at the check out when you buy the prepaid, but the footage should get overwritten by the store itself after about 1 or 2 weeks so that's good.

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LeftHack wrote

You don't need ID, so far I haven't been asked and I've bought both smartphone and dumbphone including prepaid plans from 7-11 without any ID

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vandemic OP wrote

In Canada?

Would you say this is true for most of its major cities? That's pretty awesome if thats the case.

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LeftHack wrote

I used to live in Barrie, Oshawa and Montreal. Moved around a bit so (currently in the biggest boring shithole in ON) so IMO 7-11 is the same everywhere. SpeakOut is no-contract so they never required any ID

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celebratedrecluse wrote

the solution is social, not technical.

pay someone who needs the money to buy the sim card for you. register VOIP with the sim. pay for any VOIP fees with cryptocurrency. If you need a phone number to buy the crypto, use the one you just got.

if you're only sending encrypted messages and the rest of your opsec is good, there should be minimal to nil risk, to the person who bought the sim card. And they got to keep some of the money, so it was a mutually beneficial transaction.

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vandemic OP wrote

Fucking good idea dude! Bonus if you can get a friend or acquaintance from another country to do it for you when they visit.

They get you the SIM, and then they leave. It's perfect.

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celebratedrecluse wrote

you can also do this internationally, sharing through encrypted message the verification codes needed.

be careful that this does not reveal meta datas about you or your cared ones

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vandemic OP wrote

Supposedly, Session doesn't reveal metadata, unlike Signal, but I forget if they've been fully audited or tested at this point.

https://getsession.org/

Can you elaborate further on what you mean by "verification codes" ?? You'll have to excuse me, I haven't used a regular phone with a SIM card in so long that maybe it's a stupid question but I don't know exactly what you're talking about or how it could work.

Are you saying that someone could buy a SIM card in, say, Russia or Mexico or Pakistan, and then Signal/Session me wtv code is attached to it (I assume it works like a giftcard?) ...and then I write that up on the cell providers website and link it to my device somehow ?? But how can I run a phone like this if I don't actually possess the SIM card?

In my version, your friend gets you the SIM while they're in the country, that way you have the card and they go away so it's whatever. However in yours, you seem to be saying we can do the same thing but from a distance, perhaps implying that I might not need to physically have the SIM, but rather only some string of numbers if it's texted to me?

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celebratedrecluse wrote

verification codes

SIM verification codes are codes which are sent to a phone number as a text message, usually six numbers. It is required for 2FA logins, and registering a signal private messenger number, etc.

meta datas

So i am referring to the purchase of the sim card, not the method of transmitting the info, although both are relevant. If your friend purchases a sim card, and then you use numbers associated with it, it will be connected to you. It is best to do this through someone you don't know as well, for this reason. it obscures the social networks you are part of.

process for setting up anonymous phone number

this will not provide cell phone phone service. if you are using a sim card, you need to just pay someone to buy one and either mail or give it to you, like you say.

the method i gave, on the other hand, is for setting up voip number, which many providers require an existing phone number to do. This VOIP can be used to register encrypted messaging applications like Signal Private Messenger, or other purposes you may need a cell phone number for, and it will work over the internet (you can use a mac address randomization application like macchanger to anonymize your MAC address and then just use it on public wifi, or use macchanger and a VPN to mask your ip).

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vandemic OP wrote

btw if anyone knows a VOIP app that works for registering with Telegram, please share for everyone's benefit.

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stoned_chief wrote (edited )

Correct me if I'm wrong but you only need ID when actually setting up a plan. If you buy a pre-paid SIM you should be able to do so in cash with no ID. They might ask for a name and email, just give them some bullshit name/email of course.

EDIT: /u/celebratedrecluse also made a good suggestion incase I'm wrong about the pre-paid stuff... good luck!

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LeftHack wrote

7-Eleven phone doesn't need ID proof, they're all unlocked, I've been doing these for years. Also, local phone shops like the ones run by Chinese or Korean do not require your ID to purchase an unlocked phone.

Go into a 7-Elevent store, purchase a dumbphone or smartphone, purchase a SIM and $25 plan. Most 7-11 has Wifi in their store so you can do it right there. If not, go somewhere with Wifi and do it over Tor. You'll need a IMEI generator like this. All top-ups can be done through phone anonymously.

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vandemic OP wrote

Do y'all trust Riot? Is it considered atleast as safe as Signal or no?

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stoned_chief wrote

Riot is okay, just make sure encryption is enabled and I'd recommend you avoid the main/default homeserver. Also keep in mind that calls are not encrypted. For calls you can use Wire, Signal, Jami, or Tox. (which is still experimental)

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vandemic OP wrote

Oh damn, I just realized I can set up an account with Riot.im using a bogus email and connect from there to Telegram and WhatsApp! At least in theory, as I've only just now read about it and haven't tried to implement it yet. Too bad Signal isn't on their list of potential bridges.

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