Early this year, as street protests began spreading across the Arab world, a young Internet expert from Germany, Katrin Verclas, asked Egyptian democracy activists what kind of technology they needed most. More laptop computers? Better access to the Web? Tools to evade censorship? Software to post videos?
The activists’ biggest desire, Verclas said, was simple: They wanted safer cellphones.
“They store an enormous amount of information on their phones,” she said. “Contact lists. Text messages. Videos.”