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The $499 MAGA-inspired Freedom Phone is really just a $133 Android handset from China

Freedom Phone? More like Freedumb Fone, amirite?

freedom phone
Image: KnowTechie

MAGA-world has been going crazy this week for a $500 smartphone called the Freedom Phone. It’s marketed with chock-full of conservative-leaning apps and bills itself as a safe haven from Silicon Vally censorship, but like most things far-right conservatives say these days, is it really?

See, it’s not that the handset is a rebranded phone from a Chinese manufacturer that sells their own version for substantially less money. Neither is it that the phone runs a custom version of Android called FreedomOS.

What’s really the security hole here is that it runs on a MediaTek processor (these processors are notoriously known for being easy to hack). Matthew Hickey, a co-founder of cybersecurity firm Hacker House, said he’s “never encountered a secure MediaTek device in my entire life.” Whoops.

Guess that means that conservatives that use it to talk to their buddies on Parler, WeMe, or right-wing YouTube alternative Rumble might have cause to worry about if someone is listening in. The app store replacement, PatriApp, also has no details about what, if any, safeguards are in place to stop malware-containing apps from being uploaded.

It feels like it’s not really a secure device for free speech, and more, yet another grift to take cash from far-right conservatives. With such a notable list of right-wing influencers hawking the phone, you’d expect a large payday somewhere, and that’s what’s happening. According to Freedom Phone’s ” promoters ” program, each Freedom Phone referral nets $50 for the influencer whose link was used, according to Freedom Phone’s “promoters” program.

All in all, if you’re someone who values their privacy, this Freedom phone probably isn’t for you. The idea behind is great, but its execution? Well, not so much.

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