Celebrities, billionaires and criminals are making the switch to the old school flip phone to avoid privacy invasion by snooping government officials, law enforcement or Facebook.com.
When former Atlanta city manager Mitzi Bickers (pictured) was arrested on bribery, wire fraud and money laundering charges earlier this month, she was spotted talking on a flip phone as she left the federal courthouse with her attorney.
Bickers is just the latest consumer to ditch her smartphone for the old fashioned, reliable flip phone amid fears of privacy invasion and data breach scandals.
Billionaire Warren Buffet relies on a flip phone when he is out and about. So do singer Rihanna (below), actor Daniel Day-Lewis, and NFL quarterback Andrew Luck, among others.
“With a smartphone, you spend so much time texting, talking, in constant communication, that you don’t have time to do anything else,” said Brooklyn painter Roman Cochet. “I’m way more focused now on what I’m doing. I’m less distracted.”
To meet the growing demand for old fashioned phones, manufacturers like Samsung, LG, Kyocera, iPhone and Motorola are developing flip phones for consumers who wish to ditch their smartphones amid privacy fears.
Apple has a new flip phone in the works that is scheduled for release in 2020.
Flip phones are in high demand because they don't connect to the Internet. There are also concerns about the effects of radiation when holding smartphones so close to the brain.
On Monday, Samsung introduced the new Samsung Galaxy J2 Pro which doesn't connect to the Internet (pictured above right). The phone comes equipped with 2 cameras but it "blocks mobile data such as 3G, LTE, and Wi-Fi" according to a company press release.
All smartphones collect your personal information and location and "phone home" when you connect to a Wi-Fi network.
Even if you rarely use Wi-Fi, your personal data is sent to a server when you update your phone. Updates are mandatory and can't be canceled unless you root your phone (more on that later).
Your personal information is then sold to corporations, advertisers and even foreign governments. This is legal because you "opted in" to have your personal data collected when you set up your smartphone or when you downloaded Facebook, Messenger or Twitter apps.
Most smartphones preload Facebook and Twitter as system apps so you can't remove them unless you "root" or "Jailbreak" your Android or iPhone.
Rooting your Android phone gives you administrator access to alter the phone's operating system and delete system apps. Jailbreaking your iPhone also gives you total access to remove preinstalled iPhone apps.
But rooting or Jailbreaking your phone are tricky procedures. You could end up with a $600 brick if you don't know what you're doing.