Eelo’s crowdfunding success shows how important data privacy is for users
Even if you are paranoid about the security and privacy of the data in your phone, you can only rely on what your phone maker wants to offer you, as of now. Be it Google’s Android platform and the gamut of Google’s own apps, or third-party apps such as web browsers, email client, messaging apps, firewalls and more, what you see is what you get. Things could now be changing though.
Gaël Duval, creator of the popular early Linux distribution called Mandrake Linux, is looking to develop a smartphone operating system based on Android, but with some critical changes under the hood.
The in-the-works operating system is currently known as Eelo, and will rely on the foundations of the LineageOS, which in itself is an open source and modified distribution of Android. However, the big difference could be the fact that Eelo will not have any Google Play services preloaded on the device. Duval has taken a rather different approach to find the funding for working on this software project—it is up on Kickstarter for crowdfunding.
In the 15 days or so that it has been live on Kickstarter, with a predefined goal of raising €25,000 (around Rs19 lakh), the Eelo project has already overshot its goal and has collected €50,881 (around Rs38 lakh) in pledges. There are still 16 days to go.
“First of all, I don’t want to use stock Android: it’s Google everywhere and I don’t like its default user interface. There are other initiatives too that fall short of what I’m after. I want something consistent and comfortable to use, like iOS or MacOS are. I want something I could recommend to my parents or my children. And I want something that respects my privacy,” says Duval, in the official listing. The idea is to reduce the reliance on Google’s apps and services on your smartphone, since Duval believes that “they have become too big and are tracking us by capturing a lot of information about what we do. They want to know us as much as possible to sell advertising.”
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If all goes according to plan, and it mostly should since the funding bit is more than successful with many days still to go, the early backers on Kickstarter will start getting access to Eelo.io email accounts in April, Eelo.io cloud drive in June and those who pledged support for devices will start getting those in September and beyond.
It is still too early to pronounce whether Eelo will be a success or not, it surely is attempting to provide a solution for a rather gaping hole in the smartphone ecosystem—the lack of data privacy and security.