last updated: 25/07/2019 - authors:
Hello sur! You want privacy on your SmartPhone??? then DON’T GET eelO!
This is an analysis of this article made by the $eelo foundation$, plus some actual updates about our project. To clarify, the title says “winter update” because here in Argentina it’s winter. I don’t care what the USA says. Anyway, let’s get started.
At the end of 2017, the /e/ project was unveiled in a series of articles […] with a clear promise: making a fully unGoogled and ready-to-use mobile operating system and online services, yet compatible with Android applications. Eighteen months later, most of what was described in that early vision has been built. We have produced an unGoogled mobile OS (currently supported on 80 different smartphone models) and /e/ associated online services — email address, online storage, calendar & notes — are up and running. All accessed through a single personal /e/ identity and password (read a comprehensive description here).
Okaaay, this is misleading. First of all, the “unGoogled mobile OS” is a fork of LineageOS that isn’t even updated (they run Android version 8 (Oreo), even though 10 is about to come out.) This “OS” has been specifically criticised (?) over at /e/vil.
Then it goes and says it supports over “80 different smartphones models”. Again, misleading. This sounds like they took the time to individually support each device, but the truth is that all of these supported devices were already supported by LineageOS, so they just used their work and basically claimed that they made it (check /e/vil, where they specifically do this to other parts of LineageOS.)
And then it talks about the “online services”. The thing is, all/most of these online services are hosted on the server hosting provider Scaleway, which isn’t exactly a private hosting provider like Njalla.
But that’s not the main issue. Truly private online services would encrypt your files/calendar/contacts/whatever on your device, and then upload it. /e/elo’s online services don’t do this. You are trusting /e/elo, and Scaleway, that they aren’t looking and selling your info to the NSA or whatever. This is not how private online services look like.
Still more recently, we have introduced smartphones for purchase with /e/OS preloaded: a selection of refurbished premium grade hardware options (Galaxy S7, S9…) are now available, […]
So basically, they buy phones, put /e/OS on it, put it in a fancy box and sell them for more money (the /e/elo tax™).
Well, we kindly took the time to make a price comparison between the refurbished phones and the /e/elo phones (the /e/elo tax™). Here it is:
|Phone||Amazon price||/e/elo price||tax|
|Samsung S7 Edge||220$||300$||80$|
That’s right folks, the average /e/elo tax is 100$USD.
It seems we have invented a new concept here, with demand exceeding our expectations.
No, you haven’t invented anything. CopperheadOS has been selling secure phones (with CopperheadOS AND proper security measures), which is exactly what you are doing but better.
Oh, and weren’t you supposed to be a non-profit organization? That’s what y’all got advertised like on your 200k$EUR Kickstarter/IndieGoGo campaign.
We are proud to anchor /e/ on positive values such as user data privacy, education, energy saving and sustainable development.
What we are building today is not perfect yet, but we believe that it’s the beginning of a truly significant alternative to the Apple-Google duopoly in the smartphone market. And we are getting a strong support for this from our fast-growing community of users.
So we make the /e/elo monopoly! Everyone else spies on you. /e/elo is definatly the only safe option.
Sadly, we had to release this piece quick so we haven’t investigated about this yet. Be prepared, though. And help us out on our telegram group :).
The goal of /e/ ultimately is to get totally free from the Google and the Android applications ecosystem. It’s not totally possible yet, and will take time, perhaps several years. Progressive Web Apps are maturing fast as a new option for developing low-cost efficient mobile applications, and we want to catch this opportunity and be one of the first actors to embrace it.
PWAs are great, but they are definatly not efficient on many ways, mainly in RAM consumption. You need at least 3GB of RAM on your device to fluidly run PWA apps like native apps, and phones with this specifications are from the mid-high end right now. Oh, and they are bad on CPU usage, so forget about “energy saving”.
Users demand something new and better. We’re in an emerging market — fast growing and very dynamic. We believe that what we are doing is starting to answer real needs, and we are committed to delivering more value and privacy over time.
I would like to end this section of the article by saying that what /e/elo causes is a fake illusion of privacy. Mainly the online services are the biggest illusion. They are not private. They are not safe.
Here’s some funny screenshots of Gaël making fun of himself.
Hey Gaël, if our website is so fake, why don’t you contact us to fix it? My Telegram is @v0idifier, my current Mastodon is @firstname.lastname@example.org (as you know, because you blocked it) and my email is void (with a zero instead of o) at riseup dot net. Please go ahead and debunk our website, because clearly you haven’t yet.
We will keep analyzing their code, “OS” and services and we will keep watching /e/elo.
There’s much more to do. /e/elo has deleted our comments on their forums. And there’s a lot to investigate. Join us!
Don’t use /e/elo, and don’t donate to them, and don’t buy anything from them.
Thanks for reading! Join our Telegram group for anti-/e/elo news (?) and to help us keep making this content!