Hey Fight for the Future friends and fans,
Here’s a little something new we’ve never tried before: a contest!
Our friends over at GSM Nation have been big supporters of our work for net neutrality, online privacy, and against Internet censorship, so we were stoked when they told us they were going to start carrying the Blackphone, a new android phone that was built with privacy in mind and comes bundled with trusted, easy to use encryption tools.
To help kick things off, we’re partnering with GSM Nation and mobile tech gurus Pocketnow to give away a brand new Blackphone as part of a free contest for our supporters!
All you have to do to enter is follow the three organizations on social media (you could always unfollow us after if you want, we won’t be offended! But then you’d miss out crucial info about keeping the Internet free and tips & tricks for guarding your privacy.) Also if you win, don’t worry, we’ll protect your privacy and only announce your name if you want us to.
So what’s the deal with the Blackphone? Well, here’s a few links to get you started:
- New York Times review of the Blackphone
Here at Fight for the Future we encourage everyone to take as many steps as possible to protect themselves from dragnet surveillance. We think everyone should be able to access the Internet, communicate, and express themselves without fear of government snooping or repression. We don’t often recommend specific products that people should or shouldn’t use – we think everyone should do their research, be skeptical, and be informed about their various options.
The Blackphone is not a perfect solution for 100% privacy (there may be no such thing for the vast majority of people) but it’s a huge leap forward for most of us, and provides meaningful protection from many types of mass government and corporate surveillance. So is this phone NSA-proof? Nah probably not. But if someone wants your data, this phone will make them work for it.
Here’s what I like about the Blackphone: it basically forces you to take steps to protect yourself, which is more important than you might think. I am probably the least technical member of the Fight for the Future team. When I joined the organization i could barely write a line of HTML, my role is as an activist. For me, anything that makes it easy and quick for me to protect my online privacy is huge.
GSM Nation sent me a Blackphone to try out, and the first thing it does when you turn it on is require you to set a PIN. I noted that it requires that pin to be at least 5 digits, i think all of my previous phones only allowed 4.
Then the phone prompts you to enable whole phone encryption. You can do this on other Android phones, but so many people like me would never think of it or get around to it or figure out how to do it. On the Blackphone, you press a button, plug in your phone and there you go. For someone like me, that’s critical. I would probably never encrypt my phone otherwise.
The Blackphone comes with apps that I was happy to see like SpiderOak (an alternative to Dropbox that uses zero-knowledge privacy, meaning the company doesn’t know what you’re storing so they can’t turn anything over to anyone) and the text and phone apps from Silent Circle. The phone also comes with Disconnect.me built in to allow for private browsing and blocking various trackers.
Again, like any privacy tool, the Blackphone has its limitations. If the NSA is looking directly at you they are probably going to be able to hack your phone. But they can’t hack everyone. Mass surveillance on the scale they’re conducting now is only possible because we leave ourselves so open to spying. There is safety in numbers. The more of us that use basic encryption tools like the ones Blackphone comes with, the safer we all are and the harder it is for governments to track, profile, and monitor innocent people, activists, and journalists. Don’t leave your personal life wide open, #GetSecure now.
Contest Legal details
Contest begins Monday, August 18, 2014 and runs through 12am EDT (4am GMT) Thursday, August 28, 2014. That’s midnight between Wednesday and Thursday, not Thursday and Friday, so don’t come complaining if you missed your chance to enter.
This is a global giveaway, open to anyone, anywhere.
Prize is one (1) Blackphone, SRP $629.
In order to be considered for entry, you’re going to need to follow Pocketnow, GSM Nation, and Fight for the Future on Twitter. You must abide by the rules spelled-out in the Rafflecopter widget to be eligible.
One (1) grand-prize winner will be selected from Rafflecopter’s randomized pool of entrants.
- The winner will be announced next week, shortly after entries close. This post will be updated at that time to identify the winning entry.