Could someone create/ad a privacy-friendly phone app to "F-Droid"(not dialer)?

Hi. I wonder if someone can create or ad an phone-app to F-Droid that works to use as standard phone app with “Open Contacts” instead of the preinstalled standard phone app “Google Phone” with “Google Contacts”.

Why? Because the “Google-apps” have every possible permission from viewing your exact GPS-position, to viewing your internet connections, to connecting/disconnecting to/from internet and send and recive data with internet in the background.

I’ve tried to use “Emerald Dialer” that is possible to select as standard phone app, together with “Open Contacts”. But there was a problem that I could not answer calls with it. After writing about this on GitHub I found out that it’s not ment to be a phone-app only a dialer.

The phone app should only be able to dial and recive calls (mainly 2G, 3G, 4G calls, without use of internet), view call logg (missed calls, answered calls, dialed calls), view contacts (if possible in the app “Open Contacts”) and maybe have a setting existing in “Google Phone” (under further settings) making it possible to hide/show your number while making calls. It should also have a setting, existing in “Google Phone”-settings for choosing to activate just 2G, just 3G, just 4G or 2G, 3G and 4G at the same time. Why would someone use 2G when you get better signal by using all supported networks? From 3G and higher it gets more easy to track exact position with the network. It’s possible to find nearly exact where your phone is with 3G and possible to find 100% exact where your phone is with 4G and 5G. So some people, espacially people being tracked by dictators/totalitaire regims for example, would sometimes appriciate to be able to call only with 2G, to prevent being found by wrong people.

What if the user wants to do ip-calls or video-calls? Well I think it would be better to use a seperated app for this purpose, if it is important to someone.

I’m not sure if a phone app for normal calls, not ip-calls, can be encrypted but if it’s possible it would also be great if it could be encrypted totally or just some parts (for example the call logg), like the app “Signal” but without need for signing up.

The app should be possible to select as standard phone-app under the “App-settings” in “Standard-apps”, instead of “Google Phone”. If that possible one could deactivte “Google Phone”+“Google Contacts” and block their permissions, even if it’s not possible to uninstall them.

The make the phone app “privacy friendly”. It should be without permissions for position (GPS-/network-based), use of cameras, use of NFC, use of bluetooth, use of internet, possibility to view wireless connectionnections of any kind (wi-fi, mobile-data, NFC, bluetooth).

If it is easier than finding such a app or creating it, you might ask the creators of “Open Contacts” if they can ad all mentioned phone functions to their app and make it possible to use “Open Contacts” as “standard phone app”. Right now it’s not possible to select “Open Contacts” as standard phone app, even though the app has both contact list, call logg and ability to make calls. Like I mentioned before “Emerald Dialer” is possible to select as “standard phone-app” but does not work for recieving calls, only for making calls, because it’s just a dialer.

(Btw as “standard sms app” I use the encrypted app “Silence”, at least that app is working.)

It would also be great if the app can not read “Phone status and identity”, if it is nececary for the app to work it might have the permission to view your phone number/numbers (if you have two sim-cards) but not your IMEI, MAC-adress or anything else.

Use Netguard to block internet access to unwanted apps, until such an app is written.

You can disable any app with ADB (no root needed):

adb shell
pm uninstall --user 0 applicationID

I’m don’t know how to use ADB but I can try to learn it.

Do you know if someone is working on a such app?
Or if there already is a such app or a beta version of it?

Could you ask the creators of “Open Contacts” if they could ad the missing features to their app to make it full functional as both standard phone app and contacts app?

If it’s to much to write to them, maybe you could send them a link to this topic so they can read my request and consider if they are willing & able to this? I’m quite sure that it’s easier to turn “Open contacts” into a fully functional standard phone app then creating a completely new, because it already has all features of a contact app and a lot of features off a phone app.
They only need to delete the permission to see the “Device ID” (if it’s possible).

The only thing I dislike about NetGuard, that you could ask the creator to change, is that it has permission to read “phone status and identity”. I think that permission is unnessecary for the app to work, when the apps only purpose is blocking internet connections. Because the “phone status and identity” has nothing with internet to do.

I have a suggestion if the creators of “Open Contacts” can’t fix this. They could request help from “The Gurdian Project” (the creators of Orbot, Tor, etc.), because they are expertised in making useful apps with concern for peoples privacy and freedom. Especially when they can protect you from being tracked by undemoctratic forces and totalitarian regims.

Otherwise “The Guardian Project” could possibly be the ones with ability to create a new “standard phone app”, with contacts, that is even more secure.

Direct your feature requests to those apps.

“phone status and identity”

Why do you care if an app reads these if they don’t send it on the internet?

As I stated in another topic, you cannot expect that someone does the coding just for you. If you see the necessity, learn how to code and write it yourself or help already existing projects.

I try to mail Guardian Project about it. Do you know how i get in contact with the creator of “Open Contacts”? Do they have a thread on GitHub or a mail?

Have a look on the app’s page It provides all information you need.

@tip Use Linphone. It works quite well.

1 Like

What about the open source “stock” Dialer app from AOSP? It’s Apache-2.0 licensed, and it’s what I’m using (afaik) on LineageOS without Google Play or any other closed-source Google bits. You can git clone it from https://android.googlesource.com/platform/packages/apps/Dialer.

If one needs to build the full AOSP stack first…then that’s a no-go, sorry.

Firewalls are not always successful in preventing app tracking code from sending data over the internet. For example, when using AFWall+ I tried using the logging option in Adaway to detect DNS requests from the map program Here WeGo which i downloaded elsewhere. AFWall+ did not fully block this app, Adaway’s logging feature (which i wish did not have to be started manually every time) caught multiple DNS requests for Facebook servers. Adaway does allow you to add entries to the hosts file to block those DNS requests (of course, you would have to restart the phone each time you do so and should check multiple times with Adaway’s logging feature because an app can try to access other servers when the DNS request has been blocked but it seems to be very effective overall).

DNS requests are made by the Android networking itself, not by the app directly.

DNS requests are done to the DNS servers, not to Facebook.

eg. Netguard catches DNS requests and reroutes them to your DNS servers of choice (you need to setup 2 in Netguard settings…yes 2!!)

Even if an app asked and got the IP address of a site (aka the DNS request) it doesn’t mean it can actually connect to that IP if firewalled.

Yes, it could ask for “specificdomaintiedtoyourtrackingid.facebook.com” but there’s not that much info leaked beyond what DNS server you use.

“DNS requests are made by the Android networking itself, not by the app directly.”

“DNS requests are done to the DNS servers, not to Facebook.”

Making a request FOR something and making a request TO something are different things.

I will clarify. What I meant to say was there were requests made to the DNS server for DNS entries when I was running Here WeGo after blocking it with a firewall and those DNS entries turned out to be related to Facebook. I assumed that the DNS server being asked was a given in this case.

“eg. Netguard catches DNS requests and reroutes them to your DNS servers of choice (you need to setup 2 in Netguard settings…yes 2!!)”

DNS66 and Blokada do the same thing with easier setup. I am seeing some promise in Blokada since i already have a root level firewall that uses IPTables since using multiple hosts files with Blokada is literally as easy as selecting them from a list and now Blokada has its own VPN service (which you would have to pay for if you choose to use it, not sure how it compares to the best VPNs until i read reviews about it and honestly a great VPN is better for privacy when you are not ingtending on using a VPN firewall).

VPN firewalls are better than nothing but they have limitations: At least some Android versions can be programmed by their developers to not route all of the traffic through an active VPN. During start up the cellular network is connected to before the VPN starts, data that software collected can be sent to data collection servers before the VPN firewall starts. Android also can terminate a running VPN service to free up RAM on some occasions so using a VPN firewall on a lower end Android device or playing a game that uses large amounts of RAM carries the risk of Netguard being terminated by Android. Of course,m there is the Watch Dog feature that can check to see if Netguard is running every few minutes and restart it, but during those few minutes a lot of data that was collected by apps can be leaked if any of those apps are programmed to store it and send it at the first available opportunity…And these points I just stated were written by Netguard developers, not just my opinion. The only thing that would make me use Netguard when a root level firewall is implemented and working is the logging feature but I would have to purchase the right to see the logs and would need to haveGoogle Play Services, Google Services Framework and possibly Google Play Store installed to make the purchase.

“Even if an app asked and got the IP address of a site (aka the DNS request) it doesn’t mean it can actually connect to that IP if firewalled.”

True, but being able to connect to that IP is still a possibility that can not be ruled out.

“Yes, it could ask for “specificdomaintiedtoyourtrackingid.facebook.com” but there’s not that much info leaked beyond what DNS server you use.”

Why allow the info to be leaked when I can prevent that in just a few minutes (at the most) without impacting usability of the Android device?

In this day in age, it is easy to assume and want a -one stop shop. A place or group to go to solve grievances and issues one has with something. This is not the case with the free libre open source software community. It is not a monolithic structure. It is a open bazaar where you must stroll through the place to find what you want. Fdroid is a place right near the entrance of the bazzar where folks bring items for easier access so others won’t need to walk all the way in. If you have issues with an app you will need to go to the creator of it. The app and its location in f-droid have links to the place where the creator takes questions, ect., as stonerl mentioned above. The links are also a good way to just learn more. They’re a rabbit hole, that’ll take you to all sorts of places.

Well… someone paid attention to their suggested reading list in CS-101 way back :wink:

I enjoyed what you wrote, and especially how you said it so much that I actually left my email box, coming right on over to the bazaar to comment :wink:

Yes indeed, “Mommy, will you put my chonies on for me?”.

And, “I don’t care if it’s free, I want you to tweak it how I want it - and for free, and right now!”

lol. Yes indeed.

Well, it certainly couldn’t have been said better myself, as I typically only offer up an, “RTFM Mofo!”

guardian project has not answered yet. Maybe I will contact the creators of “Open Contacts” on github instead and ask if they could improve the app with phone abilities.

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