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Internet Security

The Most Secure Linux Phones for Privacy in 2020

Linux Secure Phones for Privacy
Written by Martins Okoi
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Over the centuries, security has relatively become less of a physical issue and more of a digital one. With the ever-increasing need for data collection and management for completing all sorts of tasks, several privacy laws have been enacted to see that our right to privacy is maintained.

That notwithstanding, our every day mobile phones are virtually portable tools more or less designed to collect our data with popular software like Facebook, Instagram, and Map apps constantly tracking our location, browsing history, favorite hang out spots, TV shows, etc.

Choosing to go off the grid might be an easy decision to make but staying true to that decision is where the real difficulty is as using a privacy-focused phone will inevitably exempt you from enjoying certain services and software depending on which phone you use. For the most part, such phones have little to no customization options, make use of encrypted software, and support fewer social media platforms.

Today, we bring you a concise list of the smartphones that are designed to respect your right to privacy which you can purchase before the year runs out.

1. Librem 5

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Librem 5 is a modular privacy-focused smartphone developed by Purism with the aim of giving users the opportunity to repossess control of their private information and digital life through free and open-source software, transparency, and open governance.

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It features an independent WiFi and Bluetooth card, an independent modem card, and 3 hardware-based killswitches for disabling the camera and microphone, WiFi and Bluetooth, and network connectivity.

Librem 5 runs Purism’s privacy-focused Linux operating system, PureOS, which ships pre-installed with a handful of default apps such as a modified version of Firefox that uses DuckDuckGo as the default search engine. Given that the operating system is not Android, it does not have any access to mainstream app stores like Google Play.

Concerning its hardware specs, it houses a 13MP rear camera, a removable 3500mAh battery, 32GB secondary storage, USB-C, and an external card reader for up to 2TB. It also supports wireless charging,

2. Fairphone 3

The Fairfone 3 is a modular, repairable design smartphone built to not only protect the privacy rights of users but also to improve the working conditions of those who create it by using environmentally friendly materials. It runs Fairphone OS, a custom edition of Android 9, and users can install other operating systems on it e.g. the so-called ‘de-Googled operating system‘, Fairphone Open which was released alongside the Fairphone 2.

The Fairphone 3 also features a Snapdragon 632 processor, USB-C for charging, a 12MP rear camera, an 8MP front camera, Bluetooth 5, dual SIM support, NFC, 4GB RAM, 64GB ROM, and a removable 3000mAh battery.

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3. PinePhone

The PinePhone is a Linux phone designed by Pine 64 for easy access, privacy-preserving, day-to-day smartphone operations. It can run up to 17 operating systems but ships with the latest Postmarket OS build. The most popular variation is the PinePhone “Community Edition: PostmarketOS” Limited Edition Linux SmartPhone.

Pine64’s PinePhone houses 16GB internal flash memory, 2GB RAM, a 5MP rear camera, a 2MP front camera, a removable Li-Po 2750-3000 mAh battery, USB-C for charging, and is capable of working like any normal smartphone except for access to the Google PlayStore.

All 3 smartphones are powered by open-source projects that exist to give complete control of the smartphones to their owners. They ship with modified software that does not track usage information or collect private data which makes them ideal for the security enthusiast.

See Also: The Top 10 GNU/Linux Distros for Privacy & Security

The price to pay, however, is the disconnect from certain activities such as Facebooking with the app, and conveniently downloading apps from the PlayStore – factors that may drive or welcome users depending on their needs. Which boat are you in? And have you used any of these phones yet? Drop your comments in the discussion section below.

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About the author

Martins Okoi

Martins Divine Okoi is a Computer Science graduate with a passion for Linux and Open Source software. He is studying again for an MSc in Cybersecurity but still makes time to write about the best software the market has to offer.