With Apple no longer a viable stopgap as a mainstream platform that protects your privacy, what choices do we have?

Are the free/open alternatives ready or are we asking folks to make tradeoffs between security and privacy (can you have privacy without security? Not really. Although security doesn’t imply privacy either). And what about the FOSS elephant in the room: accessibility?

Join us live today at 5PM Irish time on Small is Beautiful and let’s discuss it.

@aral i think alternative OS are the best solution at least for mobile phones.

@M4x @aral That might work for you, but what about those billions of other people that first of all have no idea what a linux is?

@M4x Awesome. Unless you’re blind.

4 years ago:

1 year ago:



That’s just one (very important) example why it’s not “an easy one.”

Others: lack of upgrades in latest elementary OS 6 (with amazing swipe gestures) means any laptop sold with it becomes a security hole for everyday folks the moment updates stop, 2FA lock-in on banking apps, other tech + regulatory issues. If anything, not “an easy one“ and definitely not done.

@aral Point taken regarding blind people - they should be taken into account of course. But that's not what you've written in your initial post "mainstream platform which respects your privacy".

@M4x Right. Mainstream as in accessible by everyone regardless of ability, technical knowledge, etc. And without having to make security compromises (e.g., unlocked bootloaders, spoofed signatures, etc.) Folks like Purism and GrapheneOS are making good progress as are the elementary OS folks but there’s a long road still and a couple of very fundamental things that need to be fixed (and perhaps, more importantly, some foundational cultural shifts in terms of what’s deemed important).

@Aral Balkan

Although security doesn’t imply privacy either

I think it does. I don't see any way you can have actual security without also having privacy. While both are words that can mean a number of different things to different peaople, they are in my opinion very interlinked. Especially when it comes to information security, but even if we're talking about physical security.

Privacy is about choosing with whom you share your location, security is being sure that an abusive stalker don't get to know your location. Iow, privacy is a prerequisite for security the way I see it.

@harald Not just your opinion actually. There's no sense to have "security" without confidentiality. And no data confidentiality if you have built-in spywares.

Security isn't just "for the bad guys, with an exception for the good guys"… Any company who purposefully¹ deprive their users from confidentiality, and therefore from privacy, and claim their products are "secure" is lying.



1. Either for or marketing reasons (surveillance capitalism), or make profit from state-surveillance because "patriotism" (nationalism + surveillance capitalism)… Either way, such companies don't deserve users trust.


@aral Tough one indeed. One could wonder why the mainstream, as you call it, believed in Apple's privacy claims in the first place :blobthinkingeyes:

On a more optimistic note, FOSS can be part of the answer. Recent projects such as CalyxOS, LineageOS, GrapheneOS or the Pinephone have taken a huge leap forward.

And while more improvements are certainly needed in terms of accessibility, it would be a mistake to push those initiatives aside.

@don_atoms See

And while I stand by every word of that, I also stand by every word of “no trillion-dollar corporation is your friend.” I just thought we would have had longer before they caved into stronger pressures that affected their bottom line.

@aral Cool, I didn't came across this piece yet, thanks for sharing! As always, you were a few steps ahead of the pack.

Unfortunately for its customers, it looks like Apple chose to close the privacy chapter - despite the competitive advantage this provided over Google.

Don't know if that makes an idiot out of Tim Cook. Or if Samson will start shaving his head every morning. Time will tell ;)

Meanwhile, let's go FOSS!

> security doesn’t imply privacy either

Security means data availability + data integrity + data confidentiality

You just can't have security without data confidentiality. So how can possibly have "confidentiality" when privacy is breached on purpose, therefore confidentiality prerequisite aren't fulfilled anymore…

- 1/n

@aral Companies who deprive their usirs from privacy to make their marketing dumbfucks team happy, sell products and services with defective confidentiality by design, so I fail to see how they can claim to have "secure product" since they purposefully break one of the three main concepts of security.

- 2/n

And Apple was never a viable stopgap as a mainstream platform that protects your privacy… Because
- It's not maintsteam to begin with… Seriously. You might not see it because you have decent income (good for you) but apple stuff is too expensive for most people, they just can't afford a 800€ phone that will become obsolete after 3 or 4 years, and either get no OS patches anymore and/or get get slowed down to "protect the battery life" (forces you to buy a newer model).

- 3/n

@aral Nor they can afford a 1500€ or so laptop with the same hardware specs than à 600-700€ non-apple one… (Except when public money is spent so Uni students can get macbooks… 🤢 )

Not only too expensive but hardly, when not repairable at all… See Louis Rosemann complains about components availability, including stuff that breaks often like charging chip…

I fail too see how something
- is very expensive
- that doesn't last
- that is hard/impossible to repair

Can be seen as "mainstream".

- 4/n

@aral - Apple violating privacy is nothing new
-- their "health app" and trying to make some business with health insurances in the US in the US… Sure there's no risk with 0 regulations about health data collecting/selling, especially knowing regulations doesn't prevent abuse, so all you're left with is companies promise they never abused you and will never abuse you… Apple must be doing that "health" stuff for the good of humanity.

- 5/n

@aral Not to mention wearable "health" sensors, especially watches, are total shit, non reliable, imprecise and can't be taken seriously for medical stuff, BUT the collected data can still be used against users ("hey, you fail to do enough physical exercises because your so called "smart" watch told me so… Let's make your hearth insurance a little more expensive to motivate you!") and used to draw non-sense conclusions, but no risk, right?

- 6/n


-- Selling iBeacon to track people in the public place, no creepy at all… "but it's not apple violating your privacy, they just sell the tolls, so it makes apple innocent, right !"
-- OS X phoning home with unique application ID each time users launch an application… that fails without Internet connectivity, because you need apple's servers permissions to use your own not so personal computer…

- 7/7

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