Most people are aware that large corporations track everyone’s online activity, and use the collected data to make money—primarily through targeted marketing. While that invasion of privacy is seen as the price to pay for convenience by many people, others consider it unacceptable. If you fit into the latter group, there isn’t much you can do other than to simply avoid the internet and connected devices. FANGo is a phone charger concept that could soon provide a practical means of masking your online activities from corporations.
“FANGo” stands for Facebook Amazon Netflix Google Obfuscator, which also describes what the device does. Instead of trying to hide your activity entirely, FANGo hides that activity among false—yet convincing—activity. Google, for example, will look at your searches to determine what kind of advertisements to show you through their AdSense service. If you recently searched for a new dog collar, they will deduce that you bought a dog and will almost certainly start showing you ads for products that dog owners are likely to purchase. But if Google sees you also search for numerous other items without any clear pattern, it will have a difficult time forming any accurate deductions about you and your habits.
This phone charger is able to do that by taking advantage of the debug utilities present in the Android operating system. Inside the FANGo phone charger—which is just a concept at this point—there is a microcontroller which accesses the debug functions of an Android smartphone. It then uses those to run Google searches, watch YouTube videos, like Facebook pages, and pull up videos on Netflix. All of those are chosen at random, so they can’t provide any information about the real you. It is possible to do the exact same thing with an app, but integrating those functions into a phone charger is more convenient for most people. Unfortunately, FANGo probably couldn’t work with Apple iPhones, which have more strict security.