How to Protect Your Digital Data at the Border

In 2018, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents conducted over 33,000 border searches of electronic devices, a six-fold increase from 2012. Because of the amount and types of information devices like smartphones and laptops contain – including private conversations, family photos, medical documents, and banking information – a search of these devices is a search of the most intimate aspects of our lives. Professionals such as doctors, journalists, and lawyers have a heightened need to keep electronic information confidential to protect the privacy of their patients, sources, and clients.

Laws Governing Border Searches of Electronic Devices

The Fourth Amendment protects an individual’s property or person against unreasonable searches and seizures by the government. Generally, this means the government must obtain a warrant from a judge based on probable cause that the thing to be searched or seized contains evidence of illegal activity.

However, in the case of “routine” border searches, courts have recognized a heightened governmental interest in border security that outweighs an individual’s right to privacy and thus ruled that the government may conduct such searches without a warrant or suspicion. This is known as the border search exception.

Border searches are permitted to enforce immigration and customs laws, specifically to determine that travelers are authorized to enter the United States and to prevent contraband like drugs and obscene materials from entering the country. This means that border agents can search your luggage or car at the border without a warrant or suspicion.

However, courts have held that “non-routine” border searches – for example, searches that are highly intrusive and impact the dignity and privacy interests of travelers, or are carried out in a particularly offensive manner – require at least reasonable suspicion that the search will reveal an immigration or customs violation. “Non-routine” border searches include body cavity searches and searches that result in the permanent destruction of property.

Courts are still figuring out if and how the border search exception applies to digital data. In 2017, EFF and the ACLU filed a federal lawsuit, Alasaad v. McAleenan, challenging the government’s warrantless, suspicionless searches of electronic devices at the border. In July, we asked a judge to decide the case without a trial. For more information on the current state of the law related to border searches of electronic devices and why we argue for a warrant, read our whitepaper published by the American Constitution Society.

How Do Border Agents Conduct Searches of Digital Data?

CBP and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) mainly conduct electronic device searches at the border in two ways:

The first is a manual (“basic”) search, where an agent searches your devices by tapping or clicking on icons or using search functions already within the device. The second is a forensic (“advanced”) search, where an agent uses external software to search or make a copy of your device’s contents. Although a forensic search may sometimes enable recovering deleted files, the information revealed through either search is largely the same.

Under CBP and ICE’s respective policies, a border agent may conduct a basic search without suspicion. Agents may conduct advanced searches when they have reasonable suspicion of a violation of the laws enforced by ICE or CBP. CBP agents may also conduct an advanced search if there’s a “national security concern.” 

According to CBP’s policy, border agents can only access information on the device itself, meaning not content in the cloud or your live social media feeds. Agents must put the device in airplane mode or otherwise disconnect it from the internet. ICE’s policy has no similar limitation. However, even if agents can’t access content in the cloud, they can often see cached content (a snippet of data from the last time your app refreshed.)

How to Protect Yourself and Your Data at the Border

While the law around border searches of electronic devices continues to develop, here are four things you can do to protect your digital data at the border.

  1. Understand your risk. Border searches are an area where one size does not fit all. You need to understand that factors about you, your data, and your devices are crucial to helping you determine your likelihood of being subject to secondary screening, how you should prepare before you arrive at the border, and how you should respond to an agent’s demand that you unlock your device.

Generally speaking, if you comply with an agent’s demand to unlock your device, an agent may scrutinize and store your data, but you may get through screening quicker. If you refuse, the government may confiscate your device for weeks or even months, but you may prevent agents from accessing your data.

One of the most important factors is your immigration status. If you refuse to unlock your device and you’re a U.S. citizen, an agent must allow you back into the United States, though your device may still be confiscated. If you’re a lawful permanent resident, you must also be allowed entry, but your green card status may be questioned. If you’re a foreign visitor, you may be denied entry altogether.

Other risk factors about you to consider are your:

  • Travel history (e.g., if you have visited countries associated with terrorism, drug trafficking, or sex trafficking, or have frequent and/or lengthy international travel, you may be more likely to be sent to secondary screening)
  •     Law enforcement history (e.g., if you have prior convictions, you may have had a “lookout” or flag placed on your travel profile making it more likely that you’ll be sent to secondary screening)
  •     Tolerance for hassle from border agents (e.g., if you have a low tolerance for confrontation or delay, you may consider complying with a request to unlock your device)
  •     Interest in advocating for your privacy (e.g., if you are eager to protect your privacy, you may consider not complying with a request to unlock your device)

Risk factors about your data and devices include:

  •     Sensitivity of the information (e.g., if you’re a doctor, journalist, or lawyer, you may consider limiting the sensitive data you carry on your device)
  •     Potential confiscation of the device (e.g., if you don’t have the resources to bear the financial cost of replacing your device, you may consider decreasing the likelihood your device will be confiscated)
  •     Lost access to data (e.g., if your device is confiscated and losing access to that data would be consequential, you may consider backing up your data before arriving at the border)
  •     Internet access at your destination (e.g., if you expect to have fast and reliable internet access while traveling, consider uploading your data to the cloud and downloading it at your destination so you have less data on your device when crossing the border)
  •     Ownership of your device (e.g., if it’s a work device, your employer may have specific rules)

Irrespective of how your specific risk factors may influence how you prepare to cross the border with your electronic device, the following is some general advice. 

  1. Minimize the data you carry. If you’re trying to prevent the government from prying into your personal information, one way to do that is by limiting the amount of data that you carry with you across the border. You can do this in the following ways:
  •     Use a temporary device rather than your everyday smartphone or laptop.
  •     Upload data to the cloud rather than carrying it on your device, as CBP policy prohibits officers from searching beyond the data resident on your device.
  •     Delete data from your device (though it is difficult to delete all data and an agent finding limited information on your device may further raise suspicions).
  •     Clear, log out, or delete cloud apps and browsers.
  1. Protect the data you carry. After minimizing data on your device, protect the information that you do carry across the border.
  •     Ensure that full-disk encryption is engaged on your device, rather than just a screen lock (most modern smartphones integrate encryption with the passcode).
  •     Use strong passwords, both for your device and your apps and websites.
  •     Disengage biometric-only locks that use technology such as face recognition or fingerprint identification to unlock your devices.
  •     Power down your device, which will resist a variety of high-tech attacks against the phone’s security.
  •     Back up the data on your device.
  1. Take precautions. Whether you provide border agents with access to your electronic devices or not, take the following precautions when crossing the border.
  •     Have a plan before you cross the border. You don’t want to be in a situation where you’re attempting to assert your rights while worrying about what happens if you miss your connecting flight.
  •     Stay calm and respectful.
  •     Do not lie to border agents or hide data on your device, which are violations of federal law.
  •     Do not physically interfere with border agents. Agents may inspect the physical aspects of your device (e.g., the battery compartment) to determine whether you’re bringing in any contraband.
  •     Record the names, badge numbers, and agencies of border agents if you’re concerned about a negative interaction.
  •     If a border agent decides to confiscate your device, demand a custody receipt (CBP Form 6051D) and contact information for a supervisor.  

For more information on how to protect your digital data at the border, read through our how-to guide, Digital Privacy at the U.S. Border. Read more about EFF’s border search work.

EFF is a close CREDO ally in the fight to protect privacy in the digital world, and we’re proud to have donated $366,760 to EFF since 2007 to help the organization defend civil liberties and protect user privacy through impact litigation, policy analysis, grassroots activism and technology development. To learn more about CREDO’s donation program, please visit www.CREDODonations.com

We just shut down Kevin McAleenan

By Nicole Regalado, CREDO Action campaign director

This week, I led a protest that stopped Acting Secretary of  Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan from spreading more anti-immigrant hate and lies at the annual Immigration Law and Policy Conference at Georgetown University Law Center. 

McAleenan is one of Trump’s most cruel henchman. During his time as head of CBP, he unleashed border agents to tear gas refugee families, including children in diapers, at the border. Now, as acting head of DHS, he is not only enforcing, but also championing policies that perpetuate family separation and state-sanctioned child abuse. I stood up yesterday because no institution should treat McAleenan, or any Trump immigration official, as if their views on immigration are legitimate or reasonable in any way. They are the enablers of Trump’s hate.

McAleenan withheld information and intentionally misled Congress about the administration’s systematic circumvention of migrants’ due process rights. He oversaw the Clint, Texas, facility with its unsanitary and cruel conditions and was the leader of Customs and Border Patrol, which has killed at least 7 children in its custody since 2018. He also defended Trump slashing the number of refugees allowed to come to the United States to unprecedented levels. 

None of this is normal. Yet, mainstream Washington-based groups like MPI, CLINIC and Georgetown Law, are still operating like business as usual, giving a platform to McAleenan like the one they’ve given to other DHS secretaries in the past. The Brookings Institute and the Council on Foreign Relations are also welcoming McAleenan with open arms. That is unacceptable. 

And it’s not just McAleenan. Sean Spicer and Sarah Huckabee Sanders are profiting from their time promoting Trump’s lies and trying to burn down the Constitution’s protections of the free press with stints on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” and a book deal, respectively. Kirstjen Nielsen, the architect of baby jails who preceded McAleenan at DHS and oversaw family separation, has been given platforms by the Atlantic Fest and the Forbes Powerful Women conference.

Before the speech, 14 immigration rights and progressive groups came together to ask the organizers of the conference to rescind McAleenan’s keynote invitation.

I understand that keynote speeches at important Washington institutions and book deals and consulting gigs are typical for White House officials under any president. But we are living in extraordinary times, and we cannot continue letting the status quo go unchallenged.  

The White House,  cabinet-level officials and people working throughout Trump’s corrupt and bigoted administration are consolidating power and inciting violence against immigrants, Muslims, and Black and Brown people. Not a single one of them should be treated as legitimate policy makers and administrators. Not a single one should be validated as an expert or a thought leader. 

Not a single institution should reward or help them rehabilitate their image after they finish serving Trump.

When some organizations are afraid of rocking the boat and unwilling to speak  truth to power and some corporations care more about profits than values, each and every one of us must use our power to hold these institutions accountable and levy social and political consequences on the crooks and liars they elevate. 

We have the power to make it impossible for institutions to normalize, rehabilitate or reward  the architects and enforcers of Trump’s hate. Just recently, pressure from progressives forced Nielsen to back out of the Atlantic Fest just days before the scheduled event. And last summer, a confrontation at a restaurant and a protest at her home, complete with child snatcher posters, helped force the end of family separation.

That’s why when McAleenan tried to speak on Monday, I shouted louder. None of Trump’s henchmen should be given a platform to spread their hatred. When beltway groups, corporations and media outlets won’t take a stand, they can expect to hear from me and thousands of other activists around the country. Because when immigrants and children are under attack by our own government, we must stand up and fight back.

Nicole Regalado is the campaign director at CREDO Action, a social change network of millions of activists that has led numerous actions and petitions calling on organizations, corporations, and media to not give Trump administration officials platforms. CREDO Action, part of CREDO Mobile, sends tens of millions of petition signatures and hundreds of thousands of phone calls to decision-makers each year. CREDO Action members also participate in meetings, protests and other direct action for progressive change.

CREDO and allies shut down Trump’s racist DHS secretary

CREDO and allies shut down Trump's racist DHS secretary
CREDO and allies shut down Trump’s racist DHS secretary

No Trump henchmen should be given a platform to spread hatred or defend the racist, xenophobic policies put into place by Donald Trump and Stephen Miller. Institutions that elevate the architects and enforcers of Trump’s hate and normalize that cruelty can expect to hear from us.

And this week, they heard from us loud and clear. We, activists from CREDO Action, Justice for Muslims Collective, La ColectiVA, National Immigrant Justice Center and Sanctuary DMV, disrupted a controversial keynote speech by Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan and forced him off the stage at the annual Immigration Law and Policy Conference at Georgetown University Law Center. We dropped banners from the audience reading “Stand with immigrants” and “Hate is not normal,”  while chanting “When immigrants are under attack, what do we do? Stand up, fight back!” Members of the audience joined in, and GULC students also read the names of children who died in Customs and Border Patrol’s custody.

McAleenan is one of Trump’s most cruel henchman. During his time as head of CBP, he unleashed border agents to tear gas refugee families, including children in diapers, at the border. Now, as acting head of DHS, he is not only enforcing, but also championing policies that perpetuate family separation and state-sanctioned child abuse.

Our disruption made headlines across the country, with coverage in the New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, the Associated Press, Telemundo, CBS Evening News, Buzzfeed News, AJ+ and The Young Turks.

This recent disruption comes after CREDO Action organized an open letter urging the ILPC conveners – the Migration Policy Institute (MPI), the Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC) and GULC – to rescind McAleenan’s invitation. MPI and CLINIC refused, citing conference tradition while acknowledging “that this administration has advanced policies that are antithetical to longstanding national ideals and interests.”

The open letter stated: “People like McAleenan who are carrying out and championing [Trump’s and Miller’s] policies should not be treated as if their positions on immigration are reasonable or legitimate in any way. McAleenan is enforcing policies that perpetuate family separation and state-sanctioned child abuse. He has withheld information and intentionally misled Congress about the administration’s systematic circumvention of migrants’ due process rights. No institution should give McAleenan a rubber stamp of approval or megaphone to spread more hate and lies, especially organizations working toward a more compassionate and humane immigration system.”

Thank you to CREDO members who helped make this disruption, and many others, possible. Hundreds of thousands have taken action in opposition to the Trump administration’s cruel, racist and inhumane immigration policies, and support by CREDO members who use our mobile and energy products and services help fund the work we do every day.

How to protect yourself from Google’s Sensorvault surveillance program

It’s a scary thought: You and your friends are marching for gun control, climate action or social justice when a crime happens a mile or two away. Now you and the thousands of people who attended are suspects. And guess who turned you in: Google.

That’s because Google knows where you are right now, even if location tracking on your Google apps is turned off. And the company is handing over your location information to law enforcement agencies.

Google calls this program “Sensorvault” and its use by law enforcement for nearly 10 years was a well-kept secret until the New York Times recently exposed Google’s operation.

The truly troubling part is that you don’t have to be involved in a crime to be targeted by the police when you’re in the vicinity of a crime. Google’s Sensorvault stores your minute-by-minute travel via the Google apps on your mobile phone. One chief of police even boasted that Google can go beyond just a single location to show your “pattern of life.

There are some ways you may be able to protect yourself from Google’s surveillance program. One word of caution: This solution isn’t foolproof, because Google could still be tracking your whereabouts, even after taking these steps. 

Turn off Location History. 

Because Sensorvault uses data from your location history, you should first turn this feature off in your Google account. If you’re on an iPhone and don’t use any Google apps (like Maps), you should be okay, but most iPhone users do have these apps installed.

  1. On a computer, visit the Activity Controls page for your Google account (and make sure you’re signed in).
  2.  Click the slider next to Location History and ensure it’s greyed out.
Turn off Google Location History

Delete your Location History.

Now that your Location History is turned off, it’s probably a good idea to delete your previous location data as well.

  1. On the same screen under Location History, click “Manage Activity,” which will bring you to a map showing the timeline of your historical location data.
  2. In the lower right corner, click on the gear icon, which will bring up a menu.
  3. Click “Delete all Location History” and when prompted, click the check box and continue to delete your Location History.
Delete all Location History

On an Android or iPhone

If you don’t have access to a computer, here’s how you can turn off and delete your Location History. (The Location History feature should be off by default but you may have been asked to turn it on at some point and done so.)

The easiest way is through the Google Maps app. Open the app, then tap the menu icon in the top left corner (the three lines). Tap Your timeline, then tap the three dots in the top right corner. Tap Settings and privacy. Below you’ll see Location History is on or Location History is off. If it’s on, tap it, then, on the Location History screen, toggle off Location History. You’ll be asked if you want to Pause Location History? Tap Pause at the lower right.

To delete your Location History, open Google Maps, tap the menu icon in the top left corner (the three lines). Tap Your timeline, then tap the three dots in the top right corner. Tap Settings and privacy. Now tap Delete all Location History. Going forward, you can choose to delete your Location History on a regular basis. Tap Automatically delete Location History and you’ll be given a choice: delete your Location History every 3 months or every 18 months. Although many have suggested that 3 months is the minimum time Google needs to derive what value it can from your Location History — and that deleting your Location History every 3 months (or 18) is like closing the barn door after the horse has galloped away.

While disabling and deleting Location History from your Google account and devices may protect you from Google’s surveillance, the company continues to track other users and provide information to law enforcement. In fact, some Google apps will still automatically time- and location-stamp your whereabouts without your explicit consent whether or not Location History is disabled.

That’s why we urge you to sign our petition demanding that Google shut down the Sensorvault program once and for all to stop this gross breach of privacy. You can learn more and sign the petition here.

Vote for Amazon Watch, Brady and Social Security Works this October

Every month, CREDO members vote to distribute $150,000 to three incredible progressive causes – and every vote makes a difference. This October, you can support groups fighting for the environment, gun control and economic justice, by voting to fund Amazon Watch, Brady and Social Security Works.

Amazon Watch

Since 1996, Amazon Watch has worked to protect the Amazon rainforest and advance indigenous rights. Indigenous peoples have proven to be the best protectors of the Amazon, and with the power of international solidarity, they can avert today’s crisis.

The fires ravaging the Amazon are an urgent threat, and a grant from CREDO would allow Amazon Watch to expand its advocacy work on behalf of its indigenous allies, redirect more funds to urgent direct support, and fund an on-the-ground indigenous campaigner in affected communities of Brazil.

Brady

For over 40 years, Brady (formerly the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence) has been uniting gun owners and non-gun owners alike in the fight against gun violence. With programs that tackle the root causes of America’s gun violence epidemic, Brady works to ensure that every community is safer.

Funding from CREDO members will increase Brady’s capacity to combat urban gun violence, take legal action against irresponsible gun dealers, promote safe gun storage and much more, helping the organization get closer to decreasing gun violence 25% by 2025.

Social Security Works

Social Security Works knows that the best defense against right-wing lies is a good offense. That’s why SSW fights every day to expand – never cut – our Social Security system.

A grant from CREDO would allow SSW to invest in its communications infrastructure around the vote on the 2100 Act, pushing back on the inevitable right-wing talking points, while fighting to protect Social Security at every turn.

Your vote this month will determine how we divide $150,000 in donations among these three progressive groups. Be sure to cast your vote to support one, two or all three by Oct. 31.

CREDO members who use our products and services everyday are the reason why we are able to make these donations each month. Learn more about CREDO Mobile and CREDO Energy and join our movement.

Our September grantees thank you for your support

Each month, CREDO members vote on how we distribute funding to three incredible nonprofits. Those small actions add up – with one click, you can help fund groups supporting social justice, immigrant rights and gun control. In September, over 40,000 CREDO members voted to distribute $150,000 in donations to Center for Constitutional Rights, Detention Watch Network and March for Our Lives.

These donations are made possible by CREDO customers and the revenue they generate by using our services. The distribution depends entirely on the votes of CREDO members like you. And for that, our September grant recipients thank you.

Center for Constitutional Rights
$54,441

“Thank you for standing with the Center for Constitutional Rights! Every vote from CREDO members like you amplifies our ability to challenge oppressive forms of power and strengthen progressive movements that are striving for justice and equality.” – Vince Warren, Executive Director

To learn more, visit www.ccrjustice.org.

Detention Watch Network
$43,086

“Thanks for your support and partnership! Together we can put an end to the cruel and inhumane immigration detention system in the United States” – Silky Shah, Executive Director

To learn more, visit www.detentionwatchnetwork.org.  

March for Our Lives
$52,473

“Thank you for your support and trust of student leaders at March for Our Lives! Our movement has already ushered in lifesaving change in our short history, and with your partnership, we can continue and expand on what we’ve built.” – Jaclyn Corin, Co-founder

To learn more, visit www.marchforourlives.org.  

Now check out the three groups we are funding in October, and cast your vote to help distribute our donations.

CREDO members who use our products are the reason why we are able to make these donations each month. Learn more about CREDO Mobile, the carrier with a conscience.

CREDO Tip: Yes, your phone could be listening to you. Here’s what you can do.

Your Phone Could Be Listening
Your Phone Could Be Listening

Yes, your phone could be listening to you. Here’s what you can do.

Your phone could be listening to you – hearing what you say and then pushing ads according to what it thinks your interests are.

This is the analysis of at least one expert, Dr. Peter Henway, senior security consultant for cybersecurity firm Asterisk, whose conversation with VICE sparked a flurry of online investigation of the listening-phone phenomenon.

You may have suspected it already. Let’s say you’re sitting with a friend at a cafe, your phone is on the table and you’re talking about some totally random topic – like growing geraniums. Then, within hours, you’re seeing ads for geranium seeds on your social media pages.

How does this happen? Here’s how, according Henway: Your phone is, in fact, always listening.

Apple and Google claim that their virtual assistants ignore everything you say unless it’s preceded by these trigger words. But Henway points out that what you say can also be heard by any other apps that have access to your device’s microphone – and these apps may use what they hear to push ads at you, Henway speculates.

“Snippets of audio do go back to [other apps’] servers but there’s no official understanding of what the triggers for that are,” Henway told VICE. “Whether it’s timing- or location-based or usage of certain functions, [apps] are certainly pulling those microphone permissions and using those periodically. All the internals of the applications send this data in encrypted form, so it’s very difficult to define the exact trigger.”

Translation: Just as your Android phone listens for the words “OK Google,” other apps with permission to access your microphone are listening for their own trigger words – thousands of them – which Henway believes could prompt the apps to begin the process that ends with you receiving a targeted ad.

Henway told VICE “Really, there’s no reason they wouldn’t be. It makes good sense from a marketing standpoint, and their end-use agreements and the law both allow it, so I would assume they’re doing it.”

Google and Apple deny listening in on user conversations and selling that data to advertisers. Mark Zuckerberg also denied that Facebook eavesdrops on conversations. In April 2018, he told the Senate that his company does not use audio collected from phones to target ads.

Of course, given Zuckerberg’s open relationship with the truth, it is perfectly reasonable to disbelieve him. In August, it emerged that Facebook was paying outside contractors to listen to audio of users’ private conversations and transcribe what they heard. And Facebook is not the only tech giant caught with its ear to your phone. Reports came out in July that Apple hired contractors to listen to and transcribe audio captured by Siri.

So, yes, it is a very real possibility you have apps on your phone that are eavesdropping – and at least some of them could be using what they hear to serve you ads. 

Do you care? An eavesdropping phone may seem no worse than websites that track your activity online. Or it may really creep you out to know your phone is listening to you all the time. 

If that’s the case, here’s what you can do: Stop apps from accessing your microphone.

On your Android device, open Settings, then tap Apps or Application Manager (depending on the device). Tap the app you want to check on, then tap Permissions to see what the app is accessing. It might be accessing your microphone, your camera and your contacts. You can turn these permissions off.

On your iPhone, open Settings, swipe down and tap Privacy. Then tap Microphone and toggle off permission for any apps that you think should not have access to your microphone. To stop apps accessing your camera, tap Privacy, then tap Camera.

Here at CREDO, we take customer privacy very seriously. In fact, respecting our customers’ privacy rights is a core mission of our company and we have a long history of fighting to protect it. Learn more about our record of fighting for privacy.

CREDO Tip: Do these 6 things immediately if you lose your phone

Do These 6 Things Immediately If You Lose Your Phone
Do These 6 Things Immediately If You Lose Your Phone

Losing your phone can really stress you out. In a 2017 survey by the Physiological Society, a London-based nonprofit, people ranked losing their phone as life’s 14th most-stressful event, just above moving to a new home. 

But there are measures you can take to mitigate the anxiety – and the risks – that come with losing your phone. If your phone is lost or stolen, take these steps right away.

Call your phone

This is the obvious first step. Maybe your phone isn’t really lost. Maybe it’s just down the back of the couch or under the bedside table.

Or maybe your phone really is lost and someone picked it up. Your passcode, fingerprint scanner or whatever security measures you have in place could make it difficult for this good Samaritan to answer your phone when you call it. But if your phone does ring, that’s an encouraging sign. The first thing a thief might do with a stolen phone is switch it off.

Track your phone

Android and iOS phones have built-in tracking tools that allow you to locate your phone via GPS. These tools are turned on by default in most phones these days, but you should double-check to make sure (obviously, you should do this before you lose your phone.)

On your iPhone, go to Settings, tap your name at the top of the screen and then tap the name of your phone. From here, you can toggle on Find My.

On your Android phone, Find My Device is enabled by default once you sign into a Google account on that phone. To check, open Settings, then tap Security & location. If you don’t see Security & location, tap Google then Security. Tap Find My Device and see that it’s on.

Of course, since your phone is missing, you’ll have to use another device to track it. You can use the Find My iPhone or Find My Device app if it’s installed on that other device. Or you can use these websites: https://www.icloud.com/#find and https://www.google.com/android/find.

Find My iPhone and Find My Device are quite helpful. You can see your phone’s location on a map, lock your phone remotely and erase all your personal data – as long as your phone remains switched on. If your phone is switched off, you’ll see its last known location, and your phone will be locked and/or erased as soon as it is switched on by whoever has it. 

Display a “lost” message on your lock screen

Both Find My iPhone and Find My Device have a feature you can use to display a “lost phone” message and a contact number on your lock screen.

This feature is available in an iPhone’s Lost Mode and in an Android’s Secure Device mode. Using these tools, which you can access at the sites linked above, you can choose a message and contact number that will be displayed automatically on the lock screen of your missing phone, such as “This phone has been lost. Please call me at (415) 555-1234.”

This is probably the most effective step you can take to retrieve your lost phone. If your phone is protected with a passcode or other security measure – and you don’t display a “lost” message on your lockscreen – it’s nearly impossible for someone who finds your phone to open it and get it back to you. But lost phones that show a contact number on their lock screen are three times more likely to be returned to their owners.

Contact your carrier and police

Report your phone lost, and your carrier can lock the phone out of its network. From that point forward, your phone can’t be used on your carrier’s network or any other major network. 

Contacting the police may not ensure you’ll get your phone back, but you’ll most likely need a police report if you have insurance on your phone and you want to file a claim. If you don’t have phone insurance, a lost phone may be covered by renter or homeowner’s insurance.

Change your passwords

Even if you lock your device and erase your data, you should also change the passwords on all your accounts, including online banking, email, social media and shopping.

We wish you years of happiness and productivity with your current phone. And, when you decide to replace it, we invite you to check out the great phone deals we have at CREDOmobile.com. If you’re not already a CREDO Mobile member , consider switching today. You’ll join America’s only progressive mobile phone company, get the nation’s largest, most reliable network and help fund progressive causes and activism you care about – all just by using your phone every day.

WATCH: Coalition of 10,000 Farmers and Ranchers Call On Congress to Pass Green New Deal

A coalition of nearly 10,000 farmers and ranchers on Wednesday demanded that Congress support the Green New Deal.

At a press conference on Capitol Hill and in a letter to lawmakers, farmers and ranchers from across the country said reducing fossil fuel emissions to net zero by 2030 is needed to sustain their livelihood and is achievable—but only with congressional support for large-scale reforms to the agricultural industry.

“We stand ready to help achieve all of these [Green New Deal] goals,” wrote the coalition, led by the Sunrise Movement and Regeneration International. “But we need Congress to work with us to develop food and agriculture policies that support climate-friendly organic and regenerative farming, ranching, and land-use practices.”

Washington must shift its attention from the consolidated corporate agribusiness sector back to small family farms, the coalition said.

“We also ask that Congress stop subsidizing monopolistic, extractive industrial agriculture practices that pollute the environment, produce unhealthy food, and disproportionately devastate rural communities and economies,” reads the letter.

Watch the press conference:

Farmers and ranchers are major contributors to Republican candidates. A 2016 survey by Iowa State University found that only 40 percent of farmers agree with the scientific consensus that human activity like fossil fuel extraction is causing the climate crisis.

But the coalition made clear that many in the agricultural sector feel far more threatened by extreme weather caused by the crisis and economic policies promoted by Republicans like President Donald Trump than by proposals to reduce carbon emissions.

“My grandmother lost her sense of purpose after my family sold the dairy cows because growing corporate consolidation of the industry made it unprofitable,” said Garrett Blad, national press coordinator for the Sunrise Movement. “I feel disheartened when I see my uncles stress about historic rains delaying planting season, or how Trump’s tariffs are throwing my family’s business into jeopardy. I’ll be damned if I let global warming take the rest of what my grandparents built.”

“With a Green New Deal, we have a historic opportunity to break corporate control of farming, invest in rural America, and stand behind the hard-working people who grow our food every day,” he added.

The Green New Deal calls on lawmakers to work alongside farmers and ranchers to remove pollution from the agricultural sector—which creates about 13 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions—by supporting family farming rather than subsidizing corporate factory farms and investing in sustainable farming.

Moving to net zero carbon emissions by 2030 is achievable, the coalition wrote, but only with a rapid shift to a renewable energy economy and large-scale reforms to farming systems, such as a shift to regenerative agriculture—farming practices including no-till farming and composting, which increase biodiversity and enhance ecosystems by capturing carbon in soil and foliage.

“New agricultural policies could provide greater support for practices such as cover cropping, rotational grazing, agroforestry, and silvopasture,” the coalition wrote. “These practices are proven to restore ecosystem health, including the soil’s potential to sequester carbon. Policies that support better farming and ranching practices would make our farming businesses less vulnerable to the impact of climate change and more financially resilient.”

The letter comes two days before the global climate strike and days after major players in the labor movement—also often thought to oppose climate action—urged workers to support the walkout and the week of action that will follow.

“Farmers are our allies in the fight against climate change. For them, change is already at their door, and they’re feeling the effects,” said Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) in a statement. “Farmers and ranchers have a critical role to play in mitigating the devastating effects of greenhouse gas emissions. As this Congress prioritizes bold solutions to the climate crisis change, we must remember to bring farmers to the table.”

Can a Climate Conscious Diet Include Meat or Dairy?

Two new studies are making the case that people in high-income countries need to cut back on livestock-based foods, but they’re also suggesting that one-size-fits-all recommendations won’t work in all cases.

Though each advocates a major transformation in how the world eats and produces food in order to slow climate change—including a shift toward plant-based diets—they also say that consuming meat and dairy products in certain parts of the world, by certain populations, is critical for meeting nutritional goals.

One report explores the economic case for changing current food production and consumption habits, estimating that they cause about $12 trillion a year in damage to the environment, human health and development. If countries invested just half of 1 percent of global GDP in carbon-friendly agriculture, food waste reduction, reforestation and prescribing more plant-focused diets, among other measures, the world could sustainably feed itself and reduce the climate-related damage, the authors found.

“What over 9 billion people choose to eat and how they make these choices are at the heart of how our food and land use systems evolve,” the report finds, adding: “The right animals, in the right places and raised in the right conditions can continue to play an important role in sustainable food and land use systems.”

In a second report, published Tuesday in the journal Global Environmental Change, researchers at Johns Hopkins University found that modest shifts toward plant-based diets globally could cancel out the increase in greenhouse gas emissions from helping undernourished populations get adequate nutrition, including protein. The number of malnourished people in the world—roughly 820 million—remains stubbornly high.

“So many countries are dealing with under-nourishment. They’re going to have to increase food consumption, and accordingly their carbon footprints are going to have to go up,” said Keeve Nachman, director of the Food Production and Public Health Program at Johns Hopkins’ Center for a Livable Future and one of the report’s authors. “We have a responsibility as a global community to make sure they have enough food. What that means is that high-income countries that typically consume more animal products are going to have to more rapidly consider some of these plant-forward dietary shifts.”

Their study took nine different plant-focused diets and determined what the carbon impacts of each would be for 140 different countries around the world. The idea, Nachman explained, was to help policy makers in those countries understand how potential dietary shifts might impact nutritional needs and their carbon footprints.

The study comes in the wake of a series of reports, including one from the United Nations, calling for a global shift toward plant-based diets. During the negotiations on that report’s language, some developing countries argued that it was unfair to call for a broad, global reduction in meat consumption when some populations still lack enough protein.

“We recognize that every country has its own complex set of situations and priorities, so we’re presenting these nine plant-forward diets in the hopes that we’re giving decision makers options that are benchmarked to these climate and water footprints,” Nachman said. “If we come barreling in with statements about how we need to reduce animal products, that could fall on deaf ears. All countries can be part of the solution.”

Different Plant-Based Diets, Different Impacts

Nachman and his colleagues analyzed common, recognizable diets including “lacto-ovo vegetarian,” in which people eschew meat and fish but eat dairy and eggs; a “two-thirds” vegan diet, in which people consume one-third of their diets in animal-based protein; strictly vegan diets; and diets in which people ate mostly plant-based foods but also some proteins low on the food chain, like mollusks and small fish.

They found that a shift to vegan diets reduced per capita greenhouse gas footprints by 70 percent, having the lowest per capita carbon impact in 97 percent of the countries.

They also found that lacto-ovo vegetarian diets had a higher carbon footprint than diets in which vegans consumed meat in moderation but avoided dairy, largely because of the greenhouse gas emissions from dairy production. And they found that low-food-chain diets had less than half the greenhouse gas emissions of lacto-ovo vegetarians in more than 90 percent of the countries.

“These findings suggest populations could do far more to reduce their climate impact by eating mostly plants with a modest amount of low-impact meat than by eliminating meat entirely and replacing a large share of the meat’s protein and calories with dairy,” the report said.

It added: “The country-specific results presented here could provide nutritionally viable pathways for high-meat-consuming countries, as well as transitioning countries that might otherwise adopt the Western dietary pattern.”

Overhauling a Food System

In the economics-focused report released Monday, the Land and Food Use Coalition, a group of scientists, economists and environmental groups that formed in 2017 to help overhaul food and land use systems with the goal of achieving global climate targets, lays out 10 strategies for transforming food and land use systems, including a more diverse diet that’s lower in livestock-based foods, particularly in high-income countries.

It recommends that global consumption of meat from cattle and sheep “should be halted and gradually reduced,” but “in some cases this means people will need to eat more meat, and in others less.” For example, the report says, children and women of childbearing years in sub-Saharan Africa who are among the world’s undernourished populations, will need more protein to meet their nutritional needs, while people in high-income countries will need to cut back for both health and climate reasons.

The coalition found that if governments and societies invested about $350 billion a year—about 0.5 percent of GDP—in carbon-friendly agriculture and other sustainable food and farming measures, the world could save $10.5 trillion annually in environmental and health costs by 2050.

“The productive potential of the earth is plenty big enough to return 1.2 billion hectares of land to nature and produce healthy food for a growing population,” said Per Pharo, the report’s lead author and director of Norway’s Climate and Forest Initiative. “There are no technical, financial or biophysical barriers to doing this.”

Farmers Have Important Roles to Play

There are, however, political and systemic barriers.

“The goal of this report is to say this can be done, it should be done,” Pharo said. “We haven’t been able to mobilize the political will.”

The report points out that governments spend about $700 billion supporting agriculture globally, but only about 1 percent of that is directed toward beneficial environmental practices. Governments need to substantially increase their support for farmers in ways that incentivize regenerative and carbon-friendly farming, the authors write.

“We are extremely aware that [farmers] will be part of solving this,” Pharo said. “We have asked them to deliver and they’ve delivered. … This is not about blaming farmers. It’s a question of aligning more people behind the mission of transformative change.”

Article reposted with permission from Inside Climate News