With EU:s Right to Repair legislation closing in by the day and that one of Fairphones unique features soon to become not so unique anymore it is time to add another ethical feature.
Many governments, intelligence agencies and even private companies have been caught spying on civilians, journalists, lawyers, businessmen, scientists, politicians and so on. USA, China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Denmark, Hungary, Poland are just to name a few. Often done without a thread of decency and with zero regard for democratic values or human rights. Khashoggi, Nour, Merkel, sound familiar? A drop in the bucket!
In countless cases it’s the users smartphones that have been targeted with spyware like Pegasus (NSO Group), Dropoutjeep (NSA), RCSAndroid, Exodus and so on. Many of these spyware provide full control of the users smartphones, like stealing sensitive information, eavesdropping and viewing through the cameras even when the phones appear to be locked.
For this very reason most business-laptops today have physical camera switches. Why don’t smartphones have these? So the users can decide when and if they at some occasion want to physically turn on/off the cameras, microphones and other sensors that can be used for the same reason. A lot of journalists, researchers, lawyers and politicians could really benefit from this and today there is nothing like it on the market. Our smartphones are with us everyday, always and in most cases know way more about us than any person or other thing.
Since Fairphone is a ethical-minded company… how about doing something about this? I guess that many companies and agencies that handle sensitive information on a daily basis also would line up to buy a device that offers a solution to this security issue, especially when that phone also is the most enviromentaly friendly. Same goes with people living in countries with unhealthy governship.
Have a talk with Citizen Lab (surveillance industry monitor at University of Toronto) or Edward Snowden about what would be the ideal solution for smartphones from a privacy and security perspective. A solution that also keep the smartphone functioning like any modern smartphone - when the user decided that it should.