Last week I attended a CryptoParty in Leipzig. Whilst privacy has become an issue growing in public profile over the past year, it is an issue that is more prevalent in Europe and especially Germany for (I hope) clear historical reasons.
At a CryptoParty attendees are taught how to protect their privacy and identity online through a variety of methods and tools. The speakers at the CryptoParty stuck largely to the desktop and when asked about mobile said that mobile devices are fundamentally insecure. They stated that the combination of relying on a network provider and most mobile operating systems render them this way.
I’m no expert in the subject but it got me thinking of at least a couple of projects I knew of attempting to create a more private mobile experience and I was interested in getting your opinions.
Heartbeat / Ind.ie: Initially a phone was on Ind.ie’s immediate roadmap, but it has been postponed for now. However the underlying toolset is still focussed on creating a private, secure social network and cloud framework. Yes, that’s a bit of a vague concept, but they have still managed to crowdfund over $100,000, so enough people believe in the idea.
Fairphone: The prime focus of Fairphone is supply chain but they aim to make a phone that “puts social values first” and I think privacy may be an issue they look into in the future. Fairphone have previously mentioned they may consider using ReplicantOS instead of Android.
Replicant: Replicant is a fork of CyanogenMod that removes many of the proprietary components of Android and closes many privacy backdoors. It is supported by the Free Software Foundation.
Blackphone: Blackphone is probably the most well known in this field having created their own hardware and Android fork (PrivateOS) that removes bloatware, network operator hooks and comes with a suite of privacy focussed Apps.
iOS: A controversial inclusion, but many say that iOS is inherently private thanks to Apple’s business model. Quite what data Apple keeps on its users and what it does with it is one of life’s perennial mysteries though.
This is the tip of the iceberg, please add your thoughts!
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