$499 Freedom Phone Might Not Guarantee Freedom to Its Users

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Former US President Donald Trump has been missing from social media for the last year, owing to how he has lost access to social media platforms such as Twitter. His account was permanently suspended from Twitter and other platforms like Facebook, post violation of the policies against violence and hate speech.

Prior to that, Google had been responsible for the removal of the Parler app amidst the 2020 US Presidential Elections for what the company said was a lack of content moderation. This led many conservative right-wing members to think that there was a bias brewing against them and their ideas.

To cater to this crowd,  22-year-old Bitcoin millionaire Erik Finman recently introduced the Freedom Phone, a $499 (approx Rs 37k) smartphone that as per the founder is meant to free users from Big Tech’s censorship and influence.

He added at the time of launch that the Freedom Phone was the first major pushback on Big Tech companies that had set their sights on American conservatives. The phone supposedly uses an uncensorable app store that offers all such apps that have been banned from big and key app stores.

Is there Something Amiss with the Freedom Phone?

In case you didn't know, the official site for the Freedom Phone fails to mention any specifications or details, but it does mention that the Freedom Phone is set to be compatible with all major US domestic and international carriers.

The smartphone supposedly runs a free-speech first operating system that has been dubbed named FreedomOS, which features a privacy tool called Trust.

Interestingly, XDA Developers have pointed out that this device looks quite similar to the Umidigi A9 Pro that retails in the US for $119-179, but given how we do not know the exact specifications, we ought not to judge too much.

Coming back to the privacy situation, the folks at XDA have pointed out a very interesting thing, the so-called uncensored app store present on the Freedom Phone is technically a rebrand of the Aurora Store, which, for those unaware, is basically an open-source front-end for the Google Play Store.

This means that all the apps present on the PatriApp Store are most likely sourced via the Google Play Store. This also hints that if it is truly a rebrand, the company run by Finman might not have any control over the contents and in turn cannot actually guarantee the censor-free claims that have been made.

A report in ArsTechnica also points out that the app drawer features many stock apps sourced via LineageOS, which is an Android-based open-source OS. The hands-on video present in the Arts Technica report clearly shows that the Freedom Phone is running on LineageOS.

What this means basically is that a phone that claims to give you freedom over the influence of big smartphone companies might be operating its phone on the basis of one such company.

There are multiple concerns regarding this device and, to us, the only customer base seems to be right-wing members who are convinced that there is something fishy in the US, with most rational consumers opting out of this sketchy venture.

Reported By

Shloke is your go-to guy when it comes to consumer tech. Specializing in In-Depth pieces, he's also getting to grips with Telecom. His hobbies consist of Formula One and Gaming.

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