What Is Pretty Good Phone Privacy?
Mobile Network Privacy: Mobile Pro and Mobile Core
Pretty Good Phone Privacy (PGPP) is a fundamentally new type of service that gives you private mobile connectivity. In traditional mobile networks, you are identifiable by your IMSI, a permanent, globally unique identifier that is stored in your SIM card and sent to mobile towers when your phone is on. Because your IMSI never changes, and your phone connects to towers based on location and signal strength, mobile networks can track who you are and where you are located at all times. Because of this, the IMSI leaves an indelible location history, which has been used by mobile providers and numerous others, for virtually every person on the planet. IMSIs are also targeted and captured by third-party attackers using devices known as IMSI catchers, also known as Stingrays, to track a user’s presence and activity in a given location.
PGPP thwarts tracking by decoupling the user from their IMSI. We created a peer-reviewed security technique that enables us to periodically change your IMSI to a new random IMSI without requiring us to know your identity when making changes. This decoupling of a user’s access to the network from a user’s identity ensures that even INVISV does not know a user’s IMSI at a given time. PGPP Mobile Pro and Mobile Core plans include our IMSI randomization technique as part mobile data service that you can use as you travel across a wide range of countries.
PGPP’s mobile data service is designed to provide privacy-preserving connectivity while you are traveling in a wide range of countries, including: Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Guernsey, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Jersey, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, and the United States.
Signups to PGPP Mobile Core/Pro are only allowed in the following countries due to local laws and regulations relating to SIM registration: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, United Kingdom, and United States. Users with credit cards issued in these countries can subscribe to PGPP in the app. Once subscribed, PGPP users can roam across the US and Europe as listed above.
Internet Privacy: Relay
Privacy is a layered problem, which means we need to create layered solutions. Normally, when you connect to sites on the Internet, they can see your IP address and use it to identify you. As a partial solution, people use VPN services to hide their IPs to servers, but this doesn’t solve the problem because, as an essential aspect of a VPN’s design, the VPN company still knows your identity (your IP address and, often, your customer information) and all of your Internet usage.
PGPP Relay provides decoupled IP privacy - separating users’ IP addresses from their data traffic - through a partnership between INVISV and Fastly. With Relay, neither INVISV nor Fastly can tie your IP address to your Internet traffic, which means unlike a VPN there’s no single point of monitoring.
PGPP Relay service can be used when on WiFi or mobile data, and supports a wide range of Android devices. Relay is included with Mobile Pro and Mobile Core service.
PGPP Plan Details
Mobile Pro ($90/mo)
- Mobile location and metadata privacy - thwarts tracking by the mobile network and others, and hides unique descriptive information that pinpoints your communication and Internet activities.
- Mobile ID changes - Provides 30 random mobile ID (IMSI) changes per month, using oblivious authentication during changes. ID changes are on demand. This decouples you as a user from each ID your phone is given, and neither INVISV nor the mobile provider know which ID you received.
- Unlimited high-speed mobile data - includes travel roaming across a wide range of countries (US/EU) and a wide range of mobile networks.
- PGPP Relay service - Provides Internet privacy utilizing the dual-hop architecture (see below), in partnership with Fastly.
Mobile Core ($40/mo)
- Mobile location and metadata privacy - Thwarts location tracking by the mobile network and hides unique descriptive information that pinpoints your communication and Internet activities.
- Mobile ID changes - Provides 8 random mobile ID (IMSI) changes per month, using anonymous authentication during changes. ID changes are on demand. This decouples you as a user from each ID your phone is given, and neither INVISV nor the mobile provider know which ID you received.
- Moderate amount of high-speed mobile data - High-speed data up to 300 MB / day (9 GB / month), rate limited to 256 Kbps once daily limits are reached. Includes travel roaming across a wide range of countries (US/EU) and a wide range of mobile networks.
- PGPP Relay service included - Provides Internet privacy utilizing the dual-hop architecture (see below), in partnership with Fastly.
- Internet privacy utilizing the dual-hop architecture - In partnership with Fastly, this plan ensures your IP address and all your network usage on both WiFi and mobile data are decoupled, and your browsing hidden from connectivity providers including us at INVISV (unlike with a VPN).
- In the dual-hop architecture, when a user uses the Internet, the network traffic (including the name of the site and any data sent/received) is encrypted using TLS so INVISV (the first hop) and the Internet Service Provider do not know where the request is going or what it contains. The second hop, Fastly, is a content delivery network that will connect the request to its destination but will not know who it’s from or the actual content of the request/browsing.
- **This plan is a supplemental privacy feature for those with existing Internet connectivity through WiFi or a mobile plan. This plan by itself does not provide mobile data service.
All plans are refundable on a pro-rated basis.
PGPP Release Notes
December 2022 – Beta Updates
Now that Relay is a standalone service, we are bringing improvements from Relay back to PGPP. These are rolling out in upcoming releases of PGPP.
Users have asked what devices PGPP works best on, and cannot give a 100% solid answer because PGPP is beta software using eSIM support that varies widely between the enormous range of Android devices that exist.
In our testing, we have found that PGPP works best on these lines of phones: Google Pixel 4 or newer and Samsung S22 or newer.
F-Droid, GrapheneOS, CalyxOS, and more
We wrote recently about our support for F-Droid, GrapheneOS, CalyxOS, and more.
Mobile Data Plans: Mobile Pro and Mobile Core
PGPP Mobile Pro and Mobile Core require an eSIM-capable device. WiFi connectivity is also used when changing your mobile identity on Mobile Pro and Mobile Core plans. You’ll need to turn on data roaming for our Mobile Pro/Core mobile connectivity to work (don’t worry, there’s no additional charge for roaming). Roaming can be enabled in mobile settings.
PGPP does not support traditional phone calling/SMS and doesn’t include a phone number. Instead we recommend that users install and use more secure apps such as Signal and Matrix for voice and video.
To avoid location-specific mobile data service that would otherwise geolocate users across the US/EU service region, while using mobile data PGPP customers will connect onto the Internet through Fastly’s connectivity in London, with other options coming soon.
PGPP Relay works on any Android device that has Internet access (whether using WiFi or mobile data service), so your device doesn’t have to have eSIM support. PGPP’s Relay provides Internet privacy by utilizing a dual-hop architecture (in partnership with Fastly), decoupling your identity and usage. This means your IP address and all your network usage are hidden from connectivity providers including us at INVISV (unlike with a VPN). Pro and Core plans include PGPP Relay for use on WiFi or mobile data.
PGPP Support Page
For more information about current known issues, please see the PGPP Support Page.