A couple people have asked me about this, but I don’t see any good-quality information about it. Frankly, it seems like a gimmicky scam trying to profit off of people’s justified but uninformed fears about data privacy and censorship. I’m guessing the operating system will just be reskinned android? It doesn’t seem to offer anything additional versus a normal phone with LineageOS+Fdroid+TorBrowser.
(Please, start a different thread if you want to start a lengthy back-and-forth about the republican-vs-democrat political dynamic of the phone. The backers of the phone do have a clear slant in the context of American politics. I am just interested in the technical attributes and capabilities of the phone.)
Some people who’ve taken a look at it seem to think it’s a rebranded Umidigi A9 Pro.
Personally I wouldn’t use it because of the high probability of it being some kinda corporate/three letter agency honeypot.
But even if the people behind it really do have the best of intentions but haven’t heard of the concept of Free Software somehow (it’s possible), there’s ultimately no such thing as an uncensorable app store. Eventually some developer is going to get into some dumb pointless internet drama with a repository maintainer over who even knows, and the software gets kicked out or pulls itself out even. OR, Mastercard will threaten to put the guys who are selling this phone on the MATCH list, after which point NO bank will do business with them.
This could happen even to Purism if for example some Matrix servers that Mastercard doesn’t like get too popular, but at least with a protocol that has a lot of Free Software clients they’d really look like jerks because of all the things they’d have to take down at once.
" Matthew Hickey, co-founder of the cybersecurity firm Hacker House, told the Daily Dot that the Freedom Phone appears to be nothing more than a rebranded Umidigi A9 Pro—a Chinese smartphone that costs as little as $119 on AliExpress."
Right of the bat, I had a hard time reading the site after I blocked the site’s stalkers. Getting around the 1990 style of web site, the phone ‘hype’ is misleading when it states " A Free-Speech First Operating System" plus “uncensorable app store” and the review(?) …“free of censorship” stuffing.
I believe everyone has freedom of speech - until the words hit the A.I. at the other end. It will not open the free speech in Social Media arenas, as it loosely implies. It might open some closed doors, with TOR on board. But it all sounds like a cheap knockoff with a Holy(?) latex condom for an O/S.
He demonstrates that the phone is not a ripoff by essentially confirming all of the harsh criticism of it.
It is a re-branded Umdigi A9 Pro from a Chinese company that uses a re-skinned Android OS. Oof. As far as I can tell, the phone doesn’t offer anything that significantly boosts freedom of speech or defeats censorship. I hope he doesn’t get any richer from this apparent low-effort scam.
That article offers great detail and is well-written. The level of bu***hit by finman is horrifying if he really is using a rebranded open-source client for the Google Play Store as the “Freedom Phone App Store.” Hearing about lawsuits against this guy sometime in the future for fraud would not surprise me at all.