‘Uncensorable’ Freedom Telephone raises a number of safety questions


Freedom Telephone; screenshot by CNET

A brand new “free speech and privateness first” cellphone unveiled this week is elevating pink flags, with one report suggesting it is only a rebranding of a finances Chinese language cellphone. 

The $500 Freedom Telephone was launched Wednesday by Erik Finman, a self-proclaimed “bitcoin millionaire,” as a substitute for fashionable units from Google, Apple and different Huge Tech corporations. The web site for the Freedom Telephone is void of the standard technical specs however says the gadget works with all main US carriers and is supported by an “uncensored” app retailer.

The cellphone apparently runs FreedomOS, an working system that Finman stated in a tweet was “our personal mix of AOSP, LineageOS, GrapheneOS, and our private growth as nicely.” The three working techniques are based mostly on Google’s Android OS, which powers nearly 9 out of 10 smartphones on the earth.

Although folks would possibly understandably be drawn to a cellphone that prioritizes privateness and free speech, a number of experiences have raised safety issues and questioned whether or not the Freedom Telephone is being upfront with clients.

The Freedom Telephone seems to be a rebranding of the Umidigi A9 Professional, a roughly $120 cellphone made by Chinese language tech firm Umidigi, in line with a report Thursday from The Every day Beast. Finman reportedly confirmed to The Every day Beast that the Freedom Telephone is manufactured by Umidigi however did not say what mannequin it was based mostly on. 

Finman did not clarify to The Every day Beast how the Freedom Telephone justified its obvious markup, however reportedly instructed it options custom-made {hardware} and improved reminiscence. 

There are additionally issues concerning the cellphone’s safety. Finman reportedly confirmed to The Every day Beast that Freedom OS relies on Google’s Android working system, however customized variations include dangers, since they may not get the newest patches and safety updates. The web site for the Freedom Telephone additionally did not element the way it plans to maintain malicious apps out of its “uncensorable app retailer,” dubbed PatriApp.

Freedom Telephone and Finman did not instantly reply to requests for extra data. 

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