Topics you need to cover about the phone for non-techies


#1

I am very interested in the Librem 5 when it comes out, but you need to make it easier for non-techies to understand. Here are some things I would like answers to…

1) How can a cell phone be secure? You are connecting it to cell towers, you still need cell phone plan, etc. and all of these aspects are an open book for spying on you. My assumptions are that it is secure because it is not making a standard cell phone call but rather it is using VOIP. Is that right? So cell towers and your service provider won’t be able to hear what you say, but they will still know where you are. Or, does the phone also make regular calls? And if this is the case, how can you say that it is secure?

2) How do I know if I can use this phone on Verizon? Or do I need a new phone provider? Can I use this phone with my existing plan?


#2

The expectation is that it can also make regular calls - and when it makes a regular call it is not more private than any other phone.


#3

Not to be rude, but if you had used the search bar rather than a forum post, you’d have these questions answered already:

  1. Covered by quite a few threads, which were merged into one thread.
  2. Librem 5 Carrier Compatibility Thread

#4

You can see their chart of frequencies and LTE bands the phone will cover. Right now , it has the most common Verizon Bands , but lacks a few. I’m on Verizon too. The ones that are missing are not an issue , unless you live or travel in rural US.
What may be an issue is using VoLTE, for which the phone has to be whitelisted by Verizon. As of now, it looks like it won’t happen soon (as per CEI Todd Weaver) statement. Still, this can be doable in a way, as long as the modem of choice is compliant - certiified by Verizon. Thenz we can fool them by giving a different IMEI (One from the network) as I did with all of my Unlocked devices. Still, that may be a coin toss. We gotta wait and see how it works out.

As far as the privacy goes. It’s more “safe” in different ways, none of which is a regular voice call over your network or browsing internet without VPN. Encrypted VoIP is all you need to keep your convo private. What makes more safe that your activitues are not shared or stored in iCloud or Google. You also have more control over the hardware on your phone -like WiFi and Bluetooth, Processir, etc are specifically installed in a way to make it harder to soy on you. On top, you have the option to turn off some or all radios.


#5

Thanks for that passive aggressiveness “Not to be rude, but…”. Purism should address these points front and center on their sales page, not buried in their forum.

Next time, if you have to start with those four words, don’t.


#6

Thank you Tatatircl. I appreciate the comments on the privacy. Again, as a non-techie, I would hope that Purism would just tell me whether I can use it on Verizon or not. I don’t know about different phone frequencies or whitelisting, nor do I want to know. If Purism wants this phone to just be for people who understand that stuff they are settling for a much smaller piece of the pie, and they are already dealing with a pretty small pie because most people aren’t so aware of privacy needs. I hope Purism’s vision is bigger than just techies.


#7

How about next time you put forth a minimal amount of effort and use the search engine instead of asking other people to do that for you? You’re not asking anything that hasn’t been asked before. Ignore the first five words of my post if they annoy you so much; my point still stands.


#8

I did look. I spent about half an hour looking and didn’t find the answers. Again, my freakin point is that I shouldn’t have to dig for this information. Purism needs to speak to regular people in their sales page, and I hope my post helps point this out. Often techies are too close to the problem and don’t see the simple stuff.

Don’t respond again because you aren’t helping with the conversation.


#9

Making complex things simple can be very time consuming. While they are ensuring that the phone can do basic phone functions when it ships, it will become more complete later on. If Purism can afford to focus on techie people for the first batch, then they should for the sake of not overwhelming customer service and disappointing people who do not know what valid expectations are because they do not know what they are buying. I expect that Purism’s vision is to target non-techies, but do not expect everything in the first release. Vision implies progressing to a goal, and that does not imply getting there in the first release.

Your post demands that people spend time making complex things simple. Much of this work has been done in other topics. Forum etiquette involves finding where this work has already been performed, if not, find a recent topic where this discussion already exists, if not, then create a new topic. Skipping this sequence can be perceived as rude. Maybe you spent half an hour looking. But your first question is covered in the FAQ (required reading before posting here), and your second question is either answered in the carrier compatibility thread that is only 22 rows down in the Phones section of this forum, or that is where you should have asked. I expect that many users perceive that you breached this forum’s etiquette, and putting “you need to” in this conversation’s title makes it seems like you are entitled to breaking etiquette. “Not to be rude” was an expression to avoid sounding like they were scolding you. I suppose that there are other ways of reminding people of our rules, but that seemed like one of the more polite ones considering the specifics of this case. This conversation will go a lot better if you read the Forum RULES - please read before posting post. Purism’s official rules requires that you seek out existing questions. This conversation should continue under those topics that @Jt02h helpfully linked to. The forum rules also require that you check the FAQ, which happens to address your first question:

Will communicating from my Librem 5 to other phones compromise my privacy or security?

The Librem 5 will be the most secure when communicating with another Librem 5 phone, communicating via an encrypted app on a Librem 5 to an Android or iOS encrypted app is the second best option available.

This is a good non-techie answer. Going into more details will go outside of the proficiency of non-techies.


#10

Matt, thank you for your thoughtful answer. I understand what you are saying about forum etiquette, and I guess I broke those rules. BUT, by not having simple answers displayed on the sales page Purism will frustrate people. You say the answers are available in the forum FAQ, well why not simply put those answers on the main sales page? You say that “making complex things simple can be very time consuming”. No more than the time it took you to write this response to me. Communication is key. In my opinion, my post on this forum should not even have been necessary, but of course, it’s not my business and you guys do whatever you want. It will hurt your business though, and you will continue to frustrate people. If you want to start with a tiny fraction of potential customers, more power to you. A little bit more communication could make it a much bigger success though. Simply have an FAQ section on the sales page that answers a few select questions in plain english. That’s all I’m saying. You can take this response as me being difficult, or as my providing sound marketing advice.


#11

It wasn’t.

Please see the “Further reading, FAQs, and status updates” section of the sales page.

Alternatively, go directly to the FAQ, which is linked in the top menu and at the bottom of the sales page.


#12

Please understand and keep in mind, did use some of your questions as examples, however much of this post is intended to be generalizations not necessarily specific to you.

You do realize that this is the community forum where other customers are responding to you correct? I ask because some of your statements come across as if you are talking to a Purism representative when you are talking to other customers/potential customers.

No company tries to answer all potential questions on the main sales page. Yes they try to provide relevant information and many provide links to FAQs but there are limits to what is reasonable.

Also answering complex questions with simple answers only leads to disappointment (and often accusations of lying) because it’s making reasonable assumptions to simplify the answer.

For example: Will the Librem 5 work on Verizon? This could be answered with a simple “yes” HOWEVER this is merely a technical answer and assumes the customer can navigate any business hurdles with their Verizon rep. This also assumes that you don’t live in the small percentage of places that will only be accessible by the wireless bands not supported by the Librem 5 (side note: many certified devices sold by Verizon also do not have all of the bands Verizon uses so this is no different than every other phone, yet my experience tells me that if Purism just said yes they would be accused of lying about the support even though Samsung and others would not even be examined)

Can I use this phone with my existing plan? Could be answered with a simple “yes” however, that assumes that your carrier is willing to allow you to change phones on your plan, some carriers will grandfather in a customer letting them keep an old plan until they change phones. So again a blanket yes isn’t 100% accurate in all circumstances and the more accurate detailed answer just gets met with “I’m not a techie tell me yes or no” when the issue isn’t even technical but a business issue of will your carrier let you change phones without modifying your plan/contract that you are likely modifying by changing devices.

There is no non-technical answer on securing any technology, asking for a simplified answer to any related question just opens up all parties for disappointment as the person with the knowledge can’t possibly know every situation you will encounter and in turn will be giving an incomplete answer. In my opinion, the better approach is to provide guidance to the knowledge for those who seek it.

With that said, is there room for improvement, always for all parties involved. Yes the people at Purism can, and should, improve their individual communications. The customers, potential or otherwise, should also strive to improve how they communicate as well. This includes listening to understand, not just listening to respond.

Now I did use some of your questions as examples, however much of this post is intended to be generalizations not necessarily specific to you.


#13

Hi everyone above: I think your exchanges with @Privacy1 are very respectful and this makes me even more convinced about this community. I hope that privacy1 will become another happy customer soon and that maybe he might contribute as well once he became more used to the forum. Let’s keep fingers crossed for the phone and “bon courage” to to purism team.


#14

You made excellent points here.
Though, I think that people like @privacy1 are used to a specific standard for online phone purchases in US.
Here are the examples



But, some OEMs like SONY are not as good at it. They will give you all the bands they support on the front page, but leave it to you for looking up your carrier’s coverage. In their case, it’s because they messed up before, causing outrage among US customers. Their XZ1 compact showed “compatible” w all US carriers , but it wasn’t certified, so people who bought it & tried using on ATT, had issues getting connected to LTE. Then , there was VoLTE issue and so on. So, their CS Reps were still claiming how it’s not on them & blamed carriers, referring customers to contact them instead. Carriers of course blamed Sony.
Then their XZ2 was showing compatibility with Verizon, but for awhile had a problem with SMS client.
As you said, Purism is trying to be careful. Actually, they are extra careful z because they are not even trying at this point to be cleared with US carriers because if the intrusive, expansive and time consuming process , required to obtain that certification.


#15

This is what Todd Weaver said not long ago.
You can see that they covered it before , but in my case I didn’t come across the info .in my case I had more complicated question - or concern :slight_smile:
You check out the thread here



#16

And this is another great explanation by @2disbetter for perceived “poor communication”.


#17

hello and welcome !

please see this forum thread as well !