The Complete Privacy & Security Podcast-Episode 059

Posted on December 22nd, 2017


This week Michael returns to talk browsers and we answer many of our listener questions that have piled up. Offense/Defense returns and we explain how your VOIP provider can be determined during your outgoing calls. This week’s episode is sponsored by

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(JC) In light of the upcoming tax season, do you have any advice on how to remain as secure as possible? The IRS allows some people to get an “Identity Protection PIN” (IP PIN), which is a “six-digit number assigned to eligible taxpayers that helps prevent the misuse of their Social Security number on fraudulent federal income tax returns. (

(MB) I have a question regarding portable WiFi devices. I will be abroad for work several months and still need a constant internet connection. My company will lend me some sort of WiFi/4G device. How do these devices perform from a privacy side? Is it safe enough to use such a device while being connected to a VPN on the phone/laptop?

(JC) Have you guys received your new Linux laptops, and what do you think? Which models are worth the extra money? (

(MB) How do you feel about Brave browser? It’s built on Chromium, but it’s a privacy browser. How much of a threat exists there? Does Google still collect data?

(JC) What are your recommendations for using a Kindle? I read that Amazon knows everything you read, how fast you read, and what page you are always on. Any way to stop this?

(MB) Signal has a new update where you can add a profile image and name. This doesn’t seem to be an account name that people can use to connect with you or anything, just some customization. Is there any benefit or risk in enabling these? Signal seems to protect the data as they process it, and they say they have no access to it.

(JC) Can you give us an update concerning your new book ?

(MB) I am considering a name change. The question is: is this really worth it? If I were to do the name change, should I do it before moving or after? From a privacy standpoint of course.

(JC) How can I get tax returns done for both personal and business and not give any personal information to the accountant? How can I get will and estate planning done and not give any personal information to the solicitor?

(MB) How do you listen to podcasts/music if your iPhone is set up anonymously? Do you use a separate iPod Touch? I’m concerned of a fingerprint of always subscribing to a handful of specific podcasts on an anonymous phone.

(JC) Michael mentions putting his iPhone SE into a faraday bag some distance from his house. How does he handle charging the phone at night, if opening the faraday bag in his home exposes the phone to baseband attacks?

(MB) Some windows PC’s allow you to block your camera and mic on bios level. Can this still be hacked without physical access ? Can you do the same on a mac ?

(JC) Do you still install additional Anti Virus sw on your macs ? (

(MB) I have as you suggested a KeepassXC encrypted container. I also have a Veracrypt container for personnal files & music but my keepass file is not in it. Is it vital to place my Keepass DB inside VC, or could I use Dropbox since the DB itself is encrypted?

(JC) Do you have any recommendations to anonymize an Apple/iTunes account or migrate purchases to a new account in an alias name?

(MB) I have a custom domain for my business.  Is there any advantage to using my custom domain with ProtonMail?  Does this make my email any more secure? (I do have other ProtonMail accounts for non-business purposes).

(JC) The 2020 Census is coming up, and thoughts on how we should participate?

(MB) My Doctor uses a service called for video calls. Is this more secure than Skype?

(JC) Do you know if there is another version of Little Snitch available for Linux? I’m a bit skeptical of Open Snitch because it seemed as it was a complicated process to install on a Linux system.

(MB) Any updates on using Open Street Maps instead of Google/Apple? Do you recommend switching? Do standalone GPS devices collect any of our data?

(JC) Under iOS 10, one could switch Siri off, meaning that Siri was not eavesdropping on all conversations. However, after installing iOS 11, I noticed an uncanny correlation between my mentioning a book or film, and it appearing in adverts from Amazon, so I went to check the Siri settings. What I found is that I can now stop Siri from starting on the home button, or from listening for “hey Siri”, (which is NOT) the same as not listening to everything else), but it now seems that it can interact with all of my apps. I turned all of the apps off, but the above mentioned correlation has continued. What now?


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