e Foundation announces financial grant from SIDN Fund

SIDN Fund will support the development of an integrated privacy center for Android™ that will be included in /e/OS. The project will span over the next two years and aims to help users gain better control of their personal data on their smartphones.

September 21st, 2020

We are very pleased to announce that SIDN Fund has chosen e Foundation as a recipient for a 75 000 euros grant for an engineering project.

SIDN Fund is an independent foundation established by SIDN, the foundation for internet domain registration in the Netherlands. Since 2014, this fund has supported over 250  innovative projects that help build a stronger, better and safer Internet for all.
e Foundation is grateful that the SIDN Fund panel feels that our project is in alignment with such principles.

/e/OS delivers on its promise of a clean, privacy first, and fully deGoogled mobile Operating System on your phone, but the minute you install an app to hail a ride, book a restaurant or chat with your friends and family, you might unknowingly be compromising your personal data all over again. Most apps include trackers, software that monitors your activity, captures your location or even accesses the documents on your phone without you knowing.
This is where our Privacy Center application will come into play.

The project

e Foundation will be developing a “Privacy Center” app to raise user awareness and gain more control on trackers on their smartphones, as well as generally improve their data privacy management.
This app will be an integral part of /e/ OS, but will also be available for other Android operating systems, to help as many users as possible become more aware of privacy problems on their phones.  
It will provide users with one centralized point to get detailed analysis of privacy on their phone and take action if necessary.
It will present information about trackers, permissions as well as privacy leaks and gives users the options to improve their privacy by setting up alerts, disabling app features and setting up fake geo-location. The app will be fully open-source, with the code available to all.

The other aspect of the project will be the development and integration of Progressive Web App (PWA) technology into the /e/OS mobile OS. This technology is a great opportunity to gain more independence from Google & Apple application SDKs and stores, so we’d like to make it as easy as possible for users to install and use them.
PWA have real privacy advantages: they run in the ‘sandbox’ of a browser and therefore have less access to user data. They also have fewer background activities, making it more difficult for apps to collect and send data about users.
To this end we aim to build in support for PWAs in the /e/ app installer as well as fully integrate them within the /e/ OS so that they appear like any other legacy Android application. This will be a true innovation, making /e/ the first OS and the /e/ app installer the first to do so.

Next steps

One aspect of our collaboration with SIDN Fund is our plan to make sure that Dutch organizations specialized in Android and mobile OS, as well as Dutch IT educational institutes will be given the opportunity to contribute their expertise to the development of the project.

With the support of SIDN Fund, the project is now underway and we are currently recruiting engineers and privacy experts to support us in implementing it. It will be managed by Gaël Duval, /e/’s founder, and Rik Viergever, a social entrepreneur and /e/-user and enthusiast since he learned about the project in 2019.

Our first step will be to set up a survey about privacy on mobile phones, to get users’ input on what they find important in this regard. People can add their suggestions for what we should focus on in this survey here: https://community.e.foundation/t/input-on-survey-about-privacy-as-part-of-collaboration-with-sidn-fund/21186.
The survey will be held in both English and Dutch.
The results of this survey will help us develop our Privacy Central app and PWA support that is in alignment with mobile phone users’ expectations.
In addition, a launch event will take place in the Netherlands, with e Foundation founder, Gaël Duval giving a presentation about /e/ and this project specifically. Details are still to be determined.

About SIDN Fund

SIDN Fund stands for ‘a strong internet for all’. The fund provides financial support to ideas and projects that aim to make the internet stronger, empower internet users or that use the internet in innovative ways. By doing so, SIDN Fund wants to help increase the social impact of the internet in the Netherlands.

Visit the website at https://www.sidnfonds.nl/excerpt

View the project page at https://www.sidnfonds.nl/projecten/privacy-central-app-en-pwa-support-in-e-app-store-en-os
For additional information please contact: info@sidnfonds.nl

About /e/

Founded by Gaël Duval, /e/OS builds mobile operating systems with pre-installed apps and online services that help users regain control of their personal data on their phones. /e/OS is committed to providing better data privacy and security for individuals and corporations,
along with a state-of-the-art user-friendly experience.
/e/OS is a global project, supported by an international core team of experienced entrepreneurs, developers and designers, and a vibrant growing community of contributors.
Its mission is to create technology that makes user privacy accessible to everyone.

Visit the website at https://e.foundation.

Follow us on social media for further updates.
Twitter https://twitter.com/e_mydata
Mastodon https://mastodon.social/@e_mydata
LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/company/eelo.io/

For additional information and interview requests, please contact:
Brittny Mendoza at media@e.email

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