As you may have seen, is about to start scanning files on for illegal material (not just in but on your phone). At the same time, univ. researchers who developed a similar scanning system are warning against its use:

Tl:dr - it's way, way too easy to swap out what is being scanned for, this particular slope is far too slippery. Once you search for one thing, it's trivial to scan for pretty much anything else.

So, what's the alternative?

🧵 (1/4)

Google Android is even worse for privacy, as it's controlled by Google whose entire business model is built around invading privacy.

However, there are many projects right here on the Fediverse attempting to create more privacy-friendly alternatives. It would be great if we could support them.

Here's a short thread going through some of the ones you can follow:



➡️ @PINE64 & @pine64tilvids - Creators of the PinePhone, a low price Linux smartphone that lets you install whichever distro you prefer

➡️ @e_mydata - Develops a downloadable de-googlised version of Android, and sells de-googlised Android smartphones

➡️ @fdroidorg - FOSS alternative to Google Play, privacy-friendly app store for Android phones

➡️ @microg - Developing free open source alternatives to Google's proprietary Android services, allows freer versions of Android to be made


➡️ @mobian - Mobile version of Debian Linux

➡️ @postmarketOS - Mobile version of Alpine Linux

➡️ @ubports - Mobile version of Ubuntu Linux

➡️ @plasmamobile - FOSS smartphone interface developed by @kde

Probably the easiest option right now is buying a PinePhone or an /e/ degooglised phone, as they have their OSes preinstalled.

However, all these projects deserve support so that alternative phones can become as functional and as easy to use as possible.


p.s. To be clear, the most "ready for prime time" alternative to Apple and Google is probably a preinstalled /e/ phone from @e_mydata, which is Android with the Google stuff removed.

It works straight out of the box, it's available in many countries and there's a wide range of apps for it.

(If you already have an Android phone, it can also be self-installed.)

The Fediverse has good vids about /e/ phones:

@FediFollows @mobian @postmarketOS @ubports @plasmamobile @kde Can CalyxOS and GrapheneOS get a mention in here? Same boat as /e/ , de-googled android builds that keep the device security (ie secure boot chain) intact.

HAI @FediFollows
Debian goes by GNU/Linux
Ubuntu is just Ubuntu
BTW Hương Tràm endorses Arch
@Dashtop, the difference is that GNU/Linux is actually part of Debian branding. Saying Debian Linux is as weird as Arch GNU/Linux or OS 10: they are sure accurate, but very awkward.

@cnx @Dashtop where does Debian use GNU/Linux tho? I skimmed and it just says Debian.

@FediFollows For people who'd like an Ubuntu Touch phone, but don't want having to install it, Volla ( ) sells their phones with a choice between their (Android based) VollaOS or Ubuntu Touch. Afaict they only ship to europe, though and the site is mostly German


Let's not forget to also mention @purism and the #librem5 phone.

Quoting from : "We would not be where we are without the Debian ecosystem or Purism and their pioneering efforts to make Linux usable on phones."

@FediFollows @mobian @postmarketOS @ubports @plasmamobile @kde

pmOS is also focused on supporting as many old devices as possible. It's not just "Alpine but for smartphones".

@csepp @FediFollows @mobian @postmarketOS @ubports @plasmamobile @kde calling postmarketOS "mobile alpine Linux" is like calling android "mobile java applet viewer"

@FediFollows i use efoundation (@e_mydata) on my fairphone - works for several other phones as well.

@travisfw @FediFollows @e_mydata

/e/ is still a customized #android
Fortunately this helps end users to use android apps and avoid a lot of developement and maintenance for capabilities.
Unfortunately, this means the direction /e/ can take is limited.

@tuxicoman @travisfw @e_mydata

Yes, we do need more options, hopefully Linux phones like the PinePhone get closer to being "daily drivers" soon.

Not sure how much more limited it is than anything else? AOSP is open source

You can change/implement anything you want, given sufficient resources

You get the advantage of having an upstream project with a great big load of development resources focused on providing a great smartphone experience & cutting edge security

I dont really see 'linux phones' ever catching up, despite the resources Mozilla, Ubuntu & others have poured into linux phones @travisfw @FediFollows @e_mydata

@dazinism I don't like it, but I think I have to agree. I wish the free software community developers would focus more on turning Android into a Free platform. @tuxicoman @FediFollows @e_mydata

@travisfw @e_mydata

There's an Easy Installer app for /e/ which lets you install the OS through a graphical interface by plugging it into your PC.

Unfortunately it only supports a limited range of devices right now (Fairphone 3, Samsungs and a few others):

OnePlus isn't on there at moment...

@FediFollows @e_mydata

In some ways yes but even it has quirks. On my Teracube 2E the second last uodate forced me to wipe it and the most recent borked wifi so I can't enable it.

@PublicNuisance @e_mydata

Sorry to hear that happened :( Hope you can find some way to fix it?

Yeah, self-installing an unofficial OS on a phone seems to be really unpredictable and difficult compared to installing it on a computer :/

That's why option of buying preinstalled phones is so important, hopefully other companies start offering it too.

#GrapheneOS has a great web flasher. Real easy to use, even from another android smartphone. Have to use a decent quality usb lead. @PublicNuisance @e_mydata

@FediFollows @e_mydata the last update from e for my samsung s8 is from 30th May, based on lineageos 17.

I think my incompatible android phone just shed a tear

Yep, Huawei Y7. But I mean I have never seen a single custom rom for this one. That aside, the compatibility list of /e/ is indeed quite impressive !

Another option for Europeans (doesn't ship to the States akaik) looking for a preinstalled private OS on a phone is @iode ! They also have the option to just dl the OS on your own phone if it supports the model. I think the biggest problem w it is that it's not open source (or partially closed source)

This guy was provided one for a review and it looks like an easy privacy option for peopke, like /e/!

@kittyzz @iode

That's interesting!

Is there more information on which parts are closed source?

@FediFollows @kittyzz

Hi & thank you for your interest in iodé
You can find the source code here: . Components suchs as the iodé blocker are currently closed source

@FediFollows @PINE64 @pine64tilvids @e_mydata @fdroidorg @microg

Linux phones aren't usable yet for daily use. Your best bet is probably to go for a degoogled android. I've been using CalyxOS for the past week or so and I can say it has been buttery smooth and completely usable. I would highly recommend checking it out:

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