After a nine-year stint as the "Verizon guy," as he is informally known, Marcarelli is finally opening up about his time in the spotlight as the face of Big Red.
His silence, he told The Atlantic, was more or less required as part of his contract with Verizon. Since the company has informed him that the curtain will soon fall on the "Test Man" character, Marcarelli now feels comfortable speaking about the role.
Before signing on as "Test Man" in 2001, Marcarelli had been a struggling actor sharing an apartment with his boyfriend and another actor friend. By 2002, he was appearing onstage at a pro football halftime show and reciting Verizon's tagline in front of a crowd of 85,000. "Up to that point," Marcarelli told The Atlantic, "I hadn't played to a house larger than 99 seats."
But this celebrity would have some painful effects on Marcarelli's personal life.
According to The Atlantic, "A few months ago, he attended his grandmother's funeral. As her body was being lowered into the ground, he heard the hushed voice of a family friend: "Can you hear me now?"
Marcarelli also recounted several incidents in which neighborhood youths drove by his house and yelled homophobic taunts. Once he considered filing a police report, but changed his mind because he was unsure about exposing himself as Verizon's "Test Man."
"I definitely think that my reticence to have any kind of persona outside of this job was that I didn't want to be put in a position to have to answer any uncomfortable question that would affect my income stream," he told The Atlantic.
As his time with Verizon winds down, Marcarelli is distancing himself from his "Verizon Guy" persona by promoting personal creative projects and even ditching his signature black glasses.
Visit The Atlantic to read more about Marcarelli's take on life in and out of Verizon's spotlight. To watch one of Verizon's early "Test Man" commercials starring Marcarelli, see the video (below).
<a href="https://silentcircle.com/web/how-it-works/" target="_blank">Silent Circle's "Silent Suite"</a> for iPhone and Android encrypts phone calls, files, texts, emails and video recordings, and can be set to erase them all from a sender's device within minutes of sending. When the app hit the market in October of last year, Slate said the product "<a href="http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/future_tense/2012/10/silent_circle_mike_janke_s_iphone_app_makes_encryption_easy_governments.single.html" target="_blank">has governments nervous</a>."
Redphone & TextSecure
If Silent Circle's $120 annual subscription fee is too much, but you still want the option of encrypting your calls and texts, try <a href="https://whispersystems.org/" target="_blank">Open WhisperSystems' free security apps</a> for iPhone and Android. Redphone allows users to encrypt their phone calls, while TextSecure allows them to do the same for texts.
Orbot & Onion Browser
The Android app <a href="https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.torproject.android&feature=search_result#?t=W251bGwsMSwxLDEsIm9yZy50b3Jwcm9qZWN0LmFuZHJvaWQiXQ" target="_blank">Orbot</a> lets you browse the web anonymously on your phone and would seemingly prevent <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/09/app-privacy-ads_n_1658191.html" target="_blank">advertising networks or others from getting information</a> about you based on your mobile web browsings. The <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/onion-browser/id519296448?mt=8" target="_blank">Onion Browser</a> works similarly, but for the iPhone.
Cloudfogger & NoteCipher
If you're afraid of storing information in the Cloud, you can try <a href="https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.cloudfogger.cf&hl=en" target="_blank">Cloudfogger</a>, an open-source Android and iPhone app that encrypts anything you store in the Cloud. If you have an Android phone, you can also pair that with <a href="https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=info.guardianproject.notepadbot" target="_blank">the Guardian Project's NoteCipher</a>, which encrypts notes on your phone's hard drive.
<a href="https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.duckduckgo.mobile.android&hl=en" target="_blank">A search engine called DuckDuckGo</a>, available for the Android and the iPhone, has built its reputation around privacy. It doesn't track or store searches, and people who use it are effectively anonymous.
Gemini App Manager
Smartphone users can generally uninstall (or avoid altogether) apps that they believe compromise their privacy -- unless those apps are "<a href="http://whatisbloatware.com/" target="_blank">bloatware</a>," apps pre-installed by the phone's carrier and impossible to remove by normal means. The <a href="https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.seasmind.android.gmappmgr&feature=search_result#?t=W251bGwsMSwxLDEsImNvbS5zZWFzbWluZC5hbmRyb2lkLmdtYXBwbWdyIl0" target="_blank">Gemini App Manager</a> for Android allows <a href="http://www.howtogeek.com/115533/how-to-disable-or-uninstall-android-bloatware/" target="_blank">users to get around the phone's restrictions and disable the bloatware</a>, thus removing potentially privacy-invading apps.
The <a href="https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.safermobile.intheclear" target="_blank">InTheClear</a> app allows you to delete all your personal data on your Android phone in an instant by pressing the app's red "Panic!" button. You can also use the app to send an emergency text message when the Panic! button is pressed, so that your compatriots know that you've wiped your cell and might be in serious trouble.