The freedom phone made the news in the political sphere for pandering to the conservative masses promising that it wouldn’t censor you. The thing is, it was a scam. The freedom phone isn’t an original design and it’s profiting off open source projects such as LineageOS and the aurora store. The freedom phone boasts its own “uncensored” app store. In reality, it’s a reskin of the Aurora Store, which is a frontend to the Google Play Store, y’know the thing owned by Google. Let’s make a freedom phone, but not solely for conservatives. Let’s make it for the person genuinely worried about being in a surveillance state, the activist, the investigative journalist, the whistleblower, etc.
Get a Google Pixel 4a at a local Best Buy or Target.
You can pay in cash if you want to be anonymous. Also be sure to pick up a prepaid sim card like Mint Mobile or Ting. Ting often has sales on their sim card kits for one dollar at Target.
Flash a custom ROM to your new phone.
This can either be GrapheneOS or CalyxOS. I personally recommend CalyxOS as it’s easier for the everyday user to operate it. Flashing a custom ROM sounds scary but I promise if you follow the steps on either the graphene site or calyx site, it’s a lot simpler than you would think.
F-Droid is an actual alternative app store that provides you with open source apps such as VPNs, mail, social media, communication, and a lot more. Your cheaper and actually secure freedom phone is set up!
If your peers have androids, encourage them to download briar. Briar is a p2p secure messenger used by many but still not enough. You could also use signal to communicate with your iOS peers. I wouldn’t trust signal completely though, they are starting to go proprietary and forgetting where they came from. So you could also use Jami and Matrix, it’s up to you.
If you’re left leaning I recommend signing up for a mastodon instance like mstdn.social. What is mastodon though? It’s an open source microblogging social media that is actually for free speech because it is run by the people and decentralized. You can use a client such as Tusky, which can be found on f-droid.
You did it! You made your own freedom phone! To sum this up, don’t fall for blatant scams or outlandish claims that the young crypto scammer fed to you. Making one yourself is the ultimate middle-finger to the surveillance state. Stay safe comrades!