In a market dominated by Android and iOS, a few mobile operating systems are daring to do something different. Graphene offers increased security for high-risk individuals and organizations, while /e/ wants to make privacy accessible to everyone. The two OSes are fighting against surveillance and surveillance capitalism, protecting consumers from the prying eyes of both nation-states and data-hungry companies.
The first, GrapheneOS is gaining traction within the cybersecurity community, where it’s praised for being stable and reliable. The open-source mobile OS with hardened security was created by Daniel Micay, a meticulous developer who cares about “advancing the state of the art” in security. He built Graphene from the ground up, saying that it was the only way to achieve his desired level of privacy, security and robustness.
While Micay is creating a mobile OS for high-risk users, another entrepreneur is taking a different path. Gaël Duval, the mastermind behind Mandrake Linux, is building a privacy-focused OS that’s easy to use. Customers can buy refurbished phones with /e/OS preinstalled, which work straight out of the box, just like any other Android device, but don’t send piles of data to Google.
/e/ and Graphene are part of a new wave of operating systems that are slowly building an audience. “Consumers are seeking innovative, more secure, and more private alternatives to the Google and Apple smartphone duopoly,” says Sean O’Brien, founder of Yale Privacy Lab. “I’ve tried nearly every smartphone operating system currently available. In many ways, options like Graphene and /e/ are more feasible, intuitive and functional than the defaults shipped by big OEMs.”