This is about convenience. I am not talking about weird apps, which solely support biometrical logins like mentioned above. Not having the fingerprint reader working is about a speed and convenience of usage of the phone.
A new FP 4 goes for 579€ right now, while a refurbished iPhone (not my first choice, but the easiest one to google) can go as low as 170€ for a 2020 model. If I can’t trust the longevity, I might as well keep my money.
In Austria “Digitales Amt” is THE e-government app. It is used to authenticate to literally all services, from tax, health care, police, housing, etc. to creating digital signatures and virtually anything else.
Why I am saying this? Because I can’t stress enough, how much of a breaking change this is.
I was lucky enough not to install the update and to read the full release notes. If I had, I would be in a lot of trouble right now.
So for me and my fellow Austrians, this is not just some nice convenience feature; this is crippling our digital everyday life.
I have reached out to my colleagues in charge of Digitales Amt and hope we can find a workaround or solution on their end, but I really hope Fairphone comes up with something on their own.
I bought my Fairphone because I wanted to avoid planned obsolescence. Being forced to buy a new phone after 1-2 years is exactly what I wanted to avoid and is not an acceptable solution for me.
PS: If we, as a tech community, can’t even manage to make the phone of one of the few European phone manufacturers compatible with the national e-government app of member states, we have lost everything and should leave the tech business to the Americans and the Asians. Harsh but imho honest truth.
And if I don’t have a smartphone, or if I have one without a fingerprint reader, or if I have no readable fingerprints (yes, this condition exists)?
How about App vendors making their Apps compatible instead? There are Apps which still work with the fingerprint reader, and there are Apps which provide alternative means of authentication.
If not bothering to provide alternative means of authentication in such an apparently important App is a feature of some “tech community”, this “tech community” should indeed leave the tech business to people who have a clue.
Digital dependencies come with risks. What else is new.
Just to say: I would have liked Fairphone to assess the situation differently before the upgrade and come up with a solution of their own, I would still like them to come up with a solution of their own.
But they are not the only ones who can provide a solution.
And just to say another thing: All this First World whining and exaggerating now comes across as pretty lame. “Other kids are starving!” parents used to say, and they would still be right.
I find some of your remarks rather heated and combative. My intention was to give more context and add to the gravitas of this situation, not complain or “whine”.
I would like to take the time to answer a few of your questions; to clarify and to avoid any misunderstandings. If you combativeness persists however, I will refrain from replying to you again.
My perception is that there are two large groups: (for the lack of a better word, no offense intended!) the technophile and the technophobe. While the technophobe (e.g. my elderly parents) still use signatures, paper forms and personal visits to the authorities, the technophile do a lot of these tasks digitally. So this issue has (at least) two facets: It undermines the national digitalization strategy and it forces a large group of people into processes they might not be comfortable with. Also it creates problems and additional work, I as a self-employed business owner, can’t bill anybody for.
Making the app compatible is a little more complicated. There are laws concerning the requirements for digital signatures and e-government. Given those requirements, the developers of the app are only implementing what has been imposed upon them. I am unsure if it is in their abilities to provide a solution.
What else is new: This OTA update.
I don’t blame Fairphone for what they did and how they did it. What is done is done.
I am writing this to inform on how severe this situation is, so a solution is found in time.
Concerning Fairphone not being the only one who can provide a solution, you are probably correct.
Maybe the app developers can, maybe Google can, maybe somebody else can.
However, as the manufacturer and the publisher of this update I feel like it is their responsibility to facilitate a solution. They should work with Google and/or the app developers. Tossing the problem over the fence to the next person or the users would not be laudable for a prestigious and well-spirited project like this.
In the end I bought a phone with a working sensor and I expect to continue using it, as I wish, during the time granted to me by the manufacturer’s warranties and their legal obligations by the consumer protection laws. Or be compensated otherwise.
If you test a car, choose a car and buy a car, and then a manufacturer’s software update breaks the way you used to use the car and intend to use the car in the future, with the only “solution” being to buy a new car, you wouldn’t accept that either. Or would you?
I regret you didn’t answer @AnotherElk question about how people you qualify as technophobes do to identify themselves at the austrian administration. To be more explicit, I am talking about people without access to a fingerprint reader.
I find weird your split between technophile and technophobe since I know many people who use internet and apps everyday but are not at all crazy about technology and don’t especially like it. They simply have to live with the times…
And how important is it really that the two groups have a name? Nitpicking over that IMHO doesn’t lead anywhere. Isn’t it rather clear that there are people who cannot or will not use the app and the others who really prefer to use it instead of trying to get an appointment in god knows how late a date in the next-to-next-to town, probably barely reachable by public transport, in extreme cases forcing them to take a day off just to handle things the non-digital way?
If I’m not mistaken, the relevant law is the EU eIDAS regulation that replaced most national European signature laws. But it is new to me that biometric authentication - and specifically applying Google latest fingerprint reader classification - is mandated by law.
Can you elaborate why Austrian law prevents using alternative authenticators like certificates, FIDO or a passphrase? Or at least accept level 2 fingerprint readers in Android 13?
Ah, so there are processes to fall back to, you just don’t like them.
I can understand that, though, I like to do things digitally, too, and very much so. I just don’t like to be dependent on it, and sometimes choose not to be.
Your elderly parents can’t bill anybody for this either.
Is anybody technophile enough to try LineageOS + Google Apps and services, and report back whether it would seem to be a path worth taking? …
(It’s tempting, but I’m not affected and I’m happily using /e/OS, which is not a good test bed for usage with Apps now failing because of the fingerprint sensor.)
The question for me is not so much whether to accept some single instance of failure or not. I consider software mostly broken overall (over-complexity, huge quality issues, no visible path or will to industry-scale improvement), and combined with capitalism I don’t expect anything good to happen and thus can cherish when good things happen against my general expectations.
The questions for me rather would be: What are my real options, and what will my dependencies be due to choosing any option?
It’s clear that the issue is frustrating and nobody here rejoices and thinks it’s the best thing that ever happened. But it’s not the end of the world either. As long as alternative processes are in place, things are still doable.
Like with other issues before (e.g. firmware update support EOL by SoC vendors) industry shortcomings come into view which need addressing …
Exactly. Anybody providing software parts can mess things up on hardware which you think is yours.
I would like to report that VR Banking app also no longer accepts fingerprint. As it comes with a second app which is used to confirm transactions (Hyper Security app) my guess is that will also no longer work. I did not see an option to add to the list of problematic apps in the other thread - how does reporting an app work?
Also, how Fairphone came to the conclusion that this is just a minor inconvenience is beyond me. What I was sold upon is long-term usability and modular upgrades of hardware components. Not even a statement of making clear that their intentions (regardless of feasibility) are to remedy the situation.
As it stands I will observe what happens next and decide for me if this wonderful experiment just happens to fall flat on its face over this. I mean, bought a modular phone with a company whose mission statement is longevity.
Anyway, back to my initial question. How do I conveniently report that this app is affected? Because it would have been so nice to find it in the list I read before upgrading, you know…
I installed the A13 update yesterday and didn’t see the notice of the fingerprint issue, since I was at first just really happy that this unexpected update was made available.
Then I faced the issues with the fingerprint login. Only after quite a bit of searching I landed here and found out about the general incompatibility issue.
It should be made much clearer that the fingerprint sensor in banking apps etc. won’t work anymore. E.g. putting a warning in all caps on top of the update information text, or even adding alert dialog that needs to be confirmed specifically (if this is possible on the update page, anyways).
So for me this action against planned obsolescence actually speeded up me needing a new phone. And I don’t have the budget for an FP4 right now, although I was very happy with my FP3.
PS: Lineage OS is not an option for me. I tried it some years ago and love the idea of a google-free phone, but personally I think that the UX in Lineage OS is utter garbage, if you want to use banking apps or other high privacy apps.
LineageOS just comes without preinstalled Google Apps and services (they legally can’t preinstall them, and many users don’t want to have them preinstalled). You can install those yourself with e.g. MindTheGapps and even register your use of Google Apps and services on a custom ROM like LineageOS with Google … https://www.google.com/android/uncertified … to play it safe with your Google account.
I’m currently travelling with my son and the Android 13 Update killed my Internet Access (I fixed that) and pretty much nuked my access to my bank account and ability to approve online credit card transactions.
As luck would have it I manged to book and pay an Hostel in Amsterdam the day before the updated popped up on my FP3 and I lost the ability to do so.
With me still considered to drop by at the Fairphone office and insist on sleeping on the floor until you have fixed the finger sensor issue.
So please NEVER EVER do something like this EVER AGAIN and please make EVERY Android Version update an OPT-IN and CLEARLY announce any CHANCES instead of pushing it out like an everyday update that happens to be a bit bigger then normal.