Choosing Freedom & Privacy on your Android phone

I have been using an Android phone for about 6 years now. I have been using GNU/Linux exclusively since 1998. Hence, the desire to have a phone that provided me with the same freedom and flexibility has been very strong.

Unfortunately, a few months back I realised how I had accepted a life where I could have complete freedom and privacy on my computer but was content with having almost none on my phone. I was surprised at how I was ready to tolerate proprietary software (and evil practices) on my phone when I would never install or use such software on my computer.

This is an account of that introspection and my reasons to take various steps to have more freedom and privacy while still using Android on my phone.

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The Tyranny of Convenience

The Tyranny of Convenience by Tim Wu (New York Times)
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/16/opinion/sunday/tyranny-convenience.html

An extremely deep and insightful essay on what convenience is doing to us and how “things” that are meant to liberate us via the convenience they provide also serve to enslave us with that convenience… so much so that:

… it is about minimizing the mental resources, the mental exertion, required to choose among the options that express ourselves… It would be perverse to embrace inconvenience as a general rule. But when we let convenience decide everything, we surrender too much.

I have long argued that, in the context of Free Software, as long as we keep valuing convenience only, we will never seek to value the freedom that free software provides us. And in a way, this essay puts that exact thought into a much larger and useful context.

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