Smart Watch / Librem 5 Working Together to Maximize Privacy

In the recent process of planning out how to maximize my privacy using my new Librem 5 (whenever it arrives), I have just realized a good way to maximize privacy (a lot), using the Librem 5 and a smart watch. Ideally, all the smart watch would be capable of doing is to tell time, make and receive phone calls and data, to connect via Bluetooth to your Librem 5, act as a Hotspot, and nothing more. Maybe the Pine watch could do all of this. If not, something else on the market should work. If the smart watch comes with any other features or apps, they can be disabled or Uninstalled. Ideally, I would look for a smart watch that does not have GPS capability.

The idea is to cut Google and all of the other snoopers off at the knees. All the watch should do is to provide wifi access to your Librem 5. You wouldn’t even need to use a Bluetooth connection to your Librem 5 if the watch has all of the phone calling features that you need. If you do use Bluetooth, you could keep that Bluetooth hardware kill switch on your L5 all turned off except when you want to transfer your calls to it.

In this configuration, your Librem 5 could be connected to the outside world, only in ways and at times that you deem safe from moment to moment. Most of the time, you could even keep your L5 turned off (power saving), except when you’re actually actively using it. When you are using your L5, only the needed hardware kill switches need to be kept in the ON position. With a completely de-Googled phone such as the Librem 5, and an always-available wifi connection (the watch), you are in absolute full control of your privacy without sacrificing your ability to access the world (nor for others to contact you) in even the least bit. Even the SIM card in the watch has no affiliation to how you use your data nor to any web browser (except for law enforcement via your carrier). So your Librem 5 is then just a small tablet with 5G data access (via the watch and your L5 wifi connection to the watch), and with the ability to make phone calls itself also, if you ever decide to turn on that phone feature of the L5 via its hardware kill switch. Any calls made that way (directly from the L5) show you as a completely unaffiliated person from the owner of the watch. So you have a burner identity or a two-factor authentication identity available on your L5, that has no known relationship to how the rest of the world knows you, and that lives behind the hardware kill switch which stays off except when you choose to turn it on. At the same time, your watch handles phone calls which can be routed to your L5 via Bluetooth if you want to handle your calls on a case by case basis, that way. Either way, your browsing, banking, and other apps on your L5 should be completely immune from surveilance capitalism, except through your watch which has no apps of its own, no GPS and no browsing nor purchase history. At best, Google might tri-angulate you via wifi scanning as an unknown person through the watch. The only time your L5 becomes visible at all is when you turn on the wifi to actively use it and then you disappear when you’re done. If you use a Google address book on the watch, they might figure out who you are and still know nothing about you except what you post about yourself, to the web. But it’ll be very easy to hide most details about yourself by hiding everything about yourself that you want to keep private, on your Librem 5 and as only a wifi data sharing connection client of the watch, which knows little about its Librem 5 client.

Maybe Purism’s next project should be a very dumb smart watch that has only phone and data and internet sharing capabilities, and that has a randomly changing Google Advertising ID number.

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Maybe this could be a good start. But this smart/dumb-watch that I have in mind would only serve as a wifi router and not much else, except perhaps to tell the time. Any apps or real data other than basic phone calling and text messaging on it become more fodder for the surveilance capitalism people to consume and use. So why should we feed them like that? I just realized that you really can shut off the surveilance capitalism completely at the router level, after you have control of the devices inside of that small network, like in the case of the Librem 5. But you still need phone and limited data (like SMS and maybe MMS) to stay on all of the time. So you wear the modem/router/dumb-phone on your wrist and maybe it has a watch face too, to make it look like it fits in and oh yeah, I guess to tell the time too. Your computer then goes on your waist or in to a purse and stays safely off, until you turn it on to use it. So you get the best of both worlds while kicking the surveilance out of your life.

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The PineTime does only have Bluetooth as external connectivity so there shouldn’t be any privacy issue. It is Open Source and could just connect to the Librem 5 which itself manages all the other connections.


I like my $40 Timex, it just tells the time. (Needs a new band though.)

Before getting a replacement, check the FCC approval so use of your Timex with that band is legal.

Edit: :wink:

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There are no emanations on the EM spectrum, so FCC rules do not apply. The Better Business Bureau on the other hand, may prevent me from using a knock-off band.

Sort of band-pass, then… (another pun intended)

I purchased a $30 cell phone watch from Amazon last week and it arrived just a few days ago. It looks pretty solid and not just junk as I was worried it might be when ordering it.

The next step will be to put a SIM card that I have in to this watch and get it working. Then I’ll turn off my Android phone (a Note 9) for most of the day for a few weeks or so, to see how that works out. I have Google Voice, so both or either of the watch and/or phone should ring or get texts when others call or text me. This way my Note 9 will stay off for most of the time, except when I need to use it. I anticipate that due to the small size of the watch phone, that I’ll probably receive calls and texts on the watch, but will turn on the phone to call out and reply to texts.

Assuming that all works out without any inconvenience, then I’ll be ready for my Librem 5. All I’ll have to do then is to replace the Note 9 with the Librem 5, which will also stay turned off for most of the day. That will resolve the shorter battery life problem of the L5 (making it a daily driver almost right away), while increasing my privacy a lot. The watch phone has no GPS capability. It can be located via triangulation, but there will be no private data on it and I don’t intend to ever sync it to another device nor to use any apps on it. So my L5 will appear on the communications grid, only when I need to use it to initiate communications with someone. Then immediately afterward, it will disappear completely from the communications grid. Others will still be able to call and text me to my watch phone which contains no data on it. Try tracking and snooping on that Google.

The last step will be to find a paid service that I can use to replace Google Voice with. Hopefully, I’ll be able through paying for the service, to get some guarantee (or at least a promise) of privacy. After I remove the SIM card from my Note 9 and put it in to my L5, then I’ll keep the Note 9 to use only at home via wifi, for the few remaining apps that I may not be able to get right away on the Librem 5. Assuming this all works out as anticipated, that will resolve one-hundred percent of my privacy needs except not for a home office PC.

So at that point, I’ll probably get a Librem Mini and a DD-WRT router. My existing router is a later model home router and it supports DD-WRT. I just recently bought another one just like it. So another project on my list of things to do is to flash that second router with DD-WRT before my Librem 5 arrives. DD-WRT allows you to blow away the simple router interface (and optional paid router apps) and setup wizards, and to implement on your home router, features that typically only exist on high-end commercial-use (ie: expensive) routers. Assuming that all of this works out, I might then have a reasonable level of privacy. There will be no Google, no Apple, and no Microsoft involved. Even now, I have a NUC6 with Windows 10 on it. But I never have a need to turn it on. I use my Ubuntu PC almost every day.