o, again, the voice and text message services provided by your wireless carrier, if you’re just sending a text message through your phone or making a telephone call through your phone, those calls can be intercepted by your own government, by police and intelligence agencies. They can be intercepted by foreign governments who are operating domestically. They can be intercepted by sophisticated criminals and by hackers and by stalkers. You should not expect that those kinds of communications services can deliver real security.
On the other hand, there are now a number of apps and Internet-based services that you can run on your smartphone that will give you much, much more secure communications. So, Apple has built iMessage into its iPhone product for several years. If you have an iPhone and you’re sending a text message to someone else who has an iPhone, this is used by default. Those messages are encrypted in a strong way. They’re sent via Apple’s system, and it’s very, very difficult for governments to intercept those. If you’re using WhatsApp, which is a service now owned by Facebook and used by hundreds of millions of people around the world, if you’re using WhatsApp on Android, it’s encrypted, again, in a very strong way. And if you have an Android or iPhone, you can download third-party apps, the best of which are called Signal for iOS and TextSecure, T-E-X-T Secure, from Android. These are best-of-breed free applications made by top security researchers, and actually subsidized by the State Department and by the U.S. taxpayer. You can download these tools today. You can make encrypted telephone calls. You can send encrypted text messages. You can really up your game and protect your communications.
To be clear, if you are a target of a law enforcement or intelligence agency and they really care about you, they can hack into your phone, and these tools won’t stop that. But you can make it much more difficult. You can make it so that they have to work really hard.