July 19, 2021

A Few Questions About the Freedom Phone

There was a big stink last week about a new phone being marketed. 

The Freedom Phone is advertised as prioritizing privacy and security. It comes loaded with several free-speech-oriented applications (and Gab) and has several privacy features including something called 'Trusty' which is advertised as a secure phone operating system.

Now there have been numerous criticisms of this endeavor...rather an awful lot, see here, here, here, here, here, here, and, here. That's a small fraction of the stories.
The phone itself appears to be a cheap Chinese model (Umidigi's A9-Pro) purchased in bulk from Ali-Baba  for about $119 U.S.. Given the 500 dollar price of the Freedom Phone, this seems to approach the iPhone in mark up.

However, while it is noted that the same result could be had by jailbreaking, stripping out and reprograming an A9-Pro with Trusty and all the other free speech apps (and Gab) that skillset is beyond those who are not tech hobbyists. 

For my part, I am a....I am a Mac user. Thus, the only thing I know about computers is that they require good industrial design to keep the magic smoke in the machines, enabling the sorcery to activate the magic mirror that sees through the tubes that interface with the ley lines. 

That is, perhaps, an extreme example, but jaibreaking phones and selecting apps that enable privacy is beyond the ken of those for whom smartphones are essentially black box technology. An excellent argument can be made that people should have a basic understanding of the kit we use, but that is not the reality of the present for a great many people, which leads to my first question for the tech literate amongst my readership: Is 300 dollars reasonable to charge for jailbreaking a phone, stripping it of its data and OS and installing a secure OS and apps (as well as Gab) ?

Perhaps more importantly, are Trusty and the other apps really able to be considered in any way secure? I thought that passage through the ley lines was managed by the mighty warlocks, like AT&T or Verizon, meaning that one's data is passing through those that will sift through it.

I'm also curious how much HARDWARE vulnerability is inherent in a phone designed and built in China, as I understand it, for the domestic market. I understand that there is no capacity for domestic production of smartphones in the U.S. but the PRC is not the only place with that capacity, finland, India and Taiwan come to mind. 

The notion that someone associated with 'Conservative Inc.' might be a squalid grifter is not beyond the scope of believability. 

At all. 

The idea that this might be a grift is a very believable one...and yet....

There is an AWFUL lot of what appears to be concern trolling on this matter. Tim Pool suggested that the people doing Freedom Phone are taking fire because they are over target, and the media fusillade against the project is reactionary. However, he has not examined one of these things. 

I don't know enough to make a decision, so I ask you gentle readers, (well the tech savvy amongst you) what do you think of this thing are there any prticular red flags not mentioned in the numerous reports on it or can a Chinese phone (or any phone) be made so it will protect the user's data via software modifications. 

And if that is the case, are there any horses left in that barn?

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 07:56 AM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
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