Freedom Telephone: Why You Ought to Keep away from It and What Else You Ought to Know About It

The Freedom Phone is a new phone that was unveiled last week and is raising red flags among journalists and security experts who say it is just a renamed Chinese Android phone.

Freedom phone; Screenshot by Carrie Mihalcik / CNET

Most of us have a “complicated” relationship with our phones when it comes to privacy and social media. A new handset called Freedom Phone promises to prioritize “freedom of speech and privacy” above everything else. One might assume that the Freedom Phone is following the trend of phone manufacturers like this Apple makes it difficult to pass on your data involuntarily, and for businesses to keep track of you. The Freedom Phone website, which has no fewer than 10 “Buy” buttons, says, “Not only make America great, it’s a great phone too.” Obviously, the Freedom Phone is saturated in politics.

If you are looking for a phone that protects your privacy, look elsewhere. The Freedom Phone has many red flags.

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In an introductory video, self-proclaimed “Bitcoin millionaire” Erik Finman, who finances the phone, claims that Freedom OS protects your privacy and has an “uncensored” app store. The PatriApp Store claims to offer apps that have been banned by “Big Tech”. In the video, Finman shows a powered-off phone that resembles a budget Chinese phone that sells for a quarter the price of the Freedom Phone of $ 500. It doesn’t share any basic specifications or technical details about the phone – like whether it will work on the faster 5G data networks that every US carrier is rolling out.

Continue reading: 5G myths debunked

The Freedom Phone and its politically conservative branding will appeal to many. But nothing suggests that the phone, its privacy claims, or avoidance of “big tech” work the way Finman suggests. Since the announcement, numerous publications and privacy experts have raised questions and security concerns about the phone and whether Finman is completely direct with potential buyers.

The fact that the phone is already available to order – and that there are more buy buttons on the website than the phone’s hardware specifications, which describe the phone’s capabilities – are all warning signs. The phone is fully marketed with its politically conservative branding and appears to be nothing more than a savvy entrepreneur looking to make money off of conservatives who are frustrated Facebook and Twitter bans former President Donald Trump. I asked Freedom Phone and Finman for a comment and for more information about the phone.

I also ordered a Freedom Phone to test, but currently don’t recommend buying it.

What is the freedom phone?

It’s a new phone that promises to protect your privacy and allow free speech without censorship across the device. In his promotional video, Finman says the Freedom Phone “does anything your current phone does except censor or spy on you”. He says it’s on par with the best smartphones out there. He goes on to say that everyone is complaining about the “big tech censorship” but no one is doing anything about it. On the screen of the video is shown a generic tweet dated December 18, attributed to Twitter user “@twitteruser”, which reads, “BUILD YOUR OWN TELEPHONE!” Finman replies, “That’s how I did it.” The displayed Twitter account is a real address, the last post of which is dated November 5, 2013.

Does the Freedom Phone actually work?

We do not know it. In the introductory video, the phone stays off all the time. This could indicate that the software is not ready to display. We asked Freedom Phone for more details.

Why is the Freedom Phone Controversial?

Whenever a cell phone manufacturer makes claims about a phone’s features, the company must demonstrate and explain how those features work. Freedom Phone’s website, launch video, and Finman’s posts on Twitter have some details about the phone or how its protection works. The lack of technical details and the fact that the company is already accepting money for pre-orders increases our skepticism that the company can fulfill these orders and its high data protection requirements.

How much does the Freedom Phone cost?

It’s listed at $ 500. That’s the same price as a Galaxy A52 5G, a Google Pixel 4A 5G, and an iPhone XR.

Continue reading: The Best Phones Under $ 500 In 2021

Is the Freedom Phone just a renamed $ 120 Chinese Android phone?

The Freedom Phone carries the slogan: “Made by Conservatives for Conservatives”. It turned out to be actually made by a Chinese company called Umidigi based in Shenzhen City. In an interview with The Daily Beast, Finman confirmed that Umidigi made the Freedom Phone but did not specify which Umidigi phone design is used.

Matthew Hickey, a cybersecurity expert who co-founded Hacker House, told the Daily Dot that the Freedom Phone is a Chinese phone called the Umidigi A9 Pro that can be purchased on AliExpress for just $ 119. He said the A9 Pro is being sold in bulk with custom logos and branding.

In a tweet, Finman wrote, “We designed this between my design lab and our partner in Hong Kong to make a custom phone.”

Should I Buy a Freedom Phone?

No. While all of Finman’s claims about the Freedom Phone turn out to be true, it is best to wait for devices to become available to test the company’s claims.

Is the Freedom Phone a Scam?

Finman didn’t explain how the phone works or how it protects your privacy or freedom of speech. Despite previous claims, the basic technical and software details of the Freedom Phone are missing, which has very little to offer customers. While I can’t directly call it a scam, I would approach this handset with caution until it is available for testing.

What Makes the Freedom Phone Secure?

Finman says the phone doesn’t track your apps, keystrokes, or location, but he doesn’t explain how. The phone’s Freedom OS has a data protection officer called Trust.

“With powerful tools like Trust, you always have control over what your apps can do. Trust helps you understand the security of your device and alert you to possible threats. “

We have never heard of trust. It could be something Finman’s team developed. Again, there are no details on how it works or where it came from. It’s not clear whether Freedom OS is based on Android. And just a reminder that the “Big Tech” company is making Google Android.

Google frequently updates Android with software upgrades and security patches that this phone probably wouldn’t get.

What Makes the Freedom Phone “Uncensable”?

The website says the Freedom Phone has an “uncensored” PatriApp store that offers apps that are banned from the Google Play Store and the iOS App Store. It is unclear whether there are guidelines in the PatriApp Store that protect against illegal criminal activity, hate speech, graphic and sexual material or pedophilia. Is the PatriApp Store basically like the 4chan of the App Stores?

It is also not clear how the phone handles technical details like IP tracing, website cookies, or other traditional tracking tools used on phones and other electronic devices. We don’t know if the Freedom Phone has been approved by the FCC.

Look at that:

Galaxy A52 5G Review: A Feature-Rich $ 500 Phone


Which cellular providers does the Freedom Phone work on?

The Freedom Phone website states that it will partner with “Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile & Sprint and all other national and international wireless carriers.” The listing of Sprint is strange, because in 2020 T-Mobile has officially completed its $ 26.5 billion merger with Sprint.

How does Freedom Phone protect against carrier tracking?

It is unclear and the issue is not addressed on the Freedom Phone website.

If the Freedom Phone avoids “Big Tech” then why does it work for all major US carriers?

This is also unclear. In Finman’s promo video, “Big Tech” is mostly used in connection with Twitter and Facebook, which banned former President Trump after using his accounts to to whip up a mob that invaded the Capitol on Jan. 6.

When can you order a Freedom Phone?

The Freedom Phone is available for pre-order now. We strongly recommend not to order it.

When will the Freedom Phone be shipped?

Units of the phone are due to arrive in August.

Where can I buy a Freedom Phone?

Currently only on the Freedom Phone website.

Which apps are running on the Freedom Phone?

The website shows icons for Parler, NewsMax, OANN, Rumble, the DuckDuckGo web browser and encrypted Telegram messages. However, it’s unclear whether it can run productivity apps like Microsoft Word or Adobe Acrobat, social media apps like TikTok or Snapchat, dating apps like Tinder or Grindr, or video games.

What are the specifications for the Freedom Phone?

It has a 6 inch screen that Finman says is edge to edge. In the video, he never shows the display, which is operated with Freedom OS. Photos show a dual SIM card tray with space for expandable storage. Aside from Finman saying things like “great camera,” “comparable to the best smartphones on the market,” and “super fast processor,” the specs are unknown.

Is the Freedom Phone “comparable to the best smartphones,” as Finman claims?

We have strong doubts. The design shown in the video looks like dozens of cheap Android phones we’ve seen over the years. It doesn’t look high quality. The screen has a teardrop cutout for the selfie camera, a design choice many Android phones made three years ago.

Who Owns Freedom Phone?

According to its website, Freedom Phone is owned by Finman, LLC of Cheyenne, Wyoming. Eric Finman is listed as the company’s agent and organizer.

Who is the billionaire and founder of Freedom Phone, Erik Finman?

Finman grew up in Idaho. In 2013, at the age of 14, he reportedly bought 100 bitcoin ($ 1000) which was worth more than $ 1 million by the time he was 20. In 2017 he founded the education startup Botangle. In 2019, he invested in a cryptocurrency company called Metal Pay to be a competitor to Facebook’s upcoming cryptocurrency Libra (now called Libra) Diem).

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