Just like most digital natives who download mobile apps, you probably just glance casually at the data and access permissions list before clicking ‘OK’. However, awareness about dangerous privacy breaches and fraudulent behaviour demands that mobile phone users pay closer attention. Major technological giants dominated the headlines last year, but for all the wrong reasons: siphoning valuable and confidential users’ data from their apps and smartphones. Most of such activity occurred without the user’s consent! People are no longer in the dark about such data abuses. There is plenty of privacy legislation being rolled out to support that fact. If you are interested in how to regain your control over data, be sure to visit the /e/ during Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona next week. /e/ is a one-of-a-kind smartphone ecosystem that is laser-focused on privacy. /e/ Founder Gaël Duval, along with his team, will be present at MWC on both February 25th and 26th.
Keeping Your Privacy First
If you are attending MWC, do not miss your chance to check out /e/, the private-by-design open source smartphone operating system that puts the privacy and safety of users’ data first. Created by Gaël Duval, open source veteran and founder of Mandrake Linux, the /e/ open source smartphone operating system offers users full privacy — by default and with easy controls. While other mobile platforms offer some privacy toggling in often confusing settings or promote privacy while simultaneously pushing data-hungry services, /e/ offers a better solution. /e/ keeps users’ data private by default and stops data flows that don’t benefit users-saving valuable battery and bandwidth. Duval and team will demo /e/ at Nexedi’s booth, Hall 5 Stand 5b41 – Station 25.
Open source is, once again, the game-changer technology that makes it possible. “Linux allowed developers and the internet to grow without centralized gatekeepers. When spyware ran rampant because web browsers didn’t stop it, Firefox came along. Now, open source once again offers the solution to the most pressing challenge in tech today: user’s privacy! We give users back control over their data,” observes Duval.
“I set off to simply modify the open source code behind Android, removing bits and pieces capturing users’ data to remote servers, select a few privacy-compliant web services and add them to the system. I thought this would only involve removing proprietary apps and one or two other services. Six months and hundreds of services later, I’m receiving daily emails and questions from all over the world, asking when the OS is available and on which smartphone. Millions have been waiting for this.”
What Makes /e/ Unique
/e/ is a unique privacy-by-design platform that combines a mobile OS, carefully selected apps, and online associated services, offering full privacy while matching consumers’ expectations of ease of use and convenience. With its emphasis on design and convenience, /e/ is meant for everyone, not just “early adopters”. The system doesn’t track or read user personal data, whether the data is stored on a user’s smartphone or in the cloud.
Advanced users will even be able to self-host their data if they wish. /e/ comes with 20+ defaults apps to cover daily personal and professional needs (email, web browsing, instant messaging, etc…). /e/ can also synchronize users’ data (email, calendar, documents, pictures) seamlessly across their smartphone or computer, just like they’re used to.
/e/ also features an app store. “We all love the convenience of the smartphone to hail a cab or car, or order pretty much anything from the palm of our hand. You will not need to give that up,” comments Duval. And the user has the final say: any Android app can be installed on /e/. But the /e/ app store goes a step further. While apps have been flourishing to cover every single need, so have customization and location trackers hidden in those apps, collecting tons of personal data and selling it to the best offer. In the /e/ app store, anyone will be able to vet their favorite apps for privacy. Trackers embedded in apps and permissions will be highlighted for anyone to see and make informed choices.
When Will /e/ Be Available in 2019?
An early version of /e/ is already available for download. It runs for free on more than 57 smartphones, including recent devices like the Samsung S9 and S9+ or the Xiaomi Pocophone F1.
The first /e/ Preview Release is coming this Spring. Anyone can use /e/, set up an account and get basic storage capacity for free. Advanced users will be able to subscribe to extended storage with a subscription plan, or even self host their data. Smartphones with /e/ pre-installed will be available later in 2019, along with business solutions like custom designed OS or Mobile Device Management solutions to meet corporate needs.
Other /e/ Resources
Twitter: eFoundation @e_mydata
Gaël Duval: @gael_duval
Mastodon: eFoundation @e_mydata
Gaël Duval: @gael
About /e/ Foundation
/e/ Foundation is a non-profit organization that is offering alternatives to people and businesses caring about the privacy of their data. /e/ Foundation was created in March 2018. It develops /e/, the smartphone operating system, with associated online services for everyday users. Over time, /e/ Foundation plans to provide a full digital ecosystem, leveraging open source and the blockchain. /e/ Foundation was started by Gaël Duval, an influential Linux developer and founder of Mandrake Linux, the first user-friendly version of Linux.