I’ve made a firm commitment to prioritize my privacy. My threat model isn’t exceptionally high, but I simply want to keep my personal data secure and private. I don’t have anything to hide, but I also don’t want to share everything with Google, Microsoft, and the like.
I’m currently using a Nothing Phone 1, which allows me to disable most Google-related services. However, there are a few stubborn ones like Carrier Services, Google Play Services, and Google Phone that I can’t completely get rid of (even the Google Play Store is history).
As a university student who values privacy more than the average person, I’m contemplating making the leap to install LineageOS. I’m aware of the concerns highlighted in the Privacy Guides. One concern is that installing LineageOS might leave me with an open bootloader and a potential security vulnerability.
Now, here’s where I’d appreciate your advice:
On my laptop and desktop, I’m already running Fedora Workstation with everything finely tuned. My primary concern is ensuring the privacy of my phone.
I came across this information:
“Unfortunately, OEMs are only obliged to support Verified Boot on their stock Android distribution. Only a few OEMs, like Google, support custom AVB key enrollment on their devices. Moreover, some AOSP derivatives such as LineageOS or /e/ OS do not support Verified Boot, even on hardware that supports it for third-party operating systems. It’s advised to check for support before buying a new device. AOSP derivatives that don’t support Verified Boot are not recommended.”
On the service front, I’ve already transitioned to privacy-respecting alternatives for the tools I use:
- Google Contacts/Phone/Messages → Simple Contacts/Phone/Messages
- Google Drive → Tresorit (I’m using the essential version, not the paid one)
- Google Photos → entePhotos (End-to-End Encryption and Open Source)
- Google Authenticator → enteAuth (Free and Open Source Software, End-to-End Encryption, with encrypted cloud backups)
- Gmail → Skiff
- Chrome → Brave
- Play Store → F-Droid/Aurora Store
What are your thoughts and recommendations in my situation? Any advice or insights are much appreciated.