Calyx OS – The next big Android Competitor!?

Calyx OS vs normal Google Android 12 – Everything you need to know…and whether Google should be worried.

fun fact for the past week i’ve not been
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using android or ios
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i’ve been using something called calyx
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os and it’s the most fascinating
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operating system
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you’ve never heard of i’m going to show
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you why there’s a need for it
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what exactly it is how it’s better than
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normal android like some of the stuff it
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does is a complete game changer
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and then how much of a threat it is to
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google
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okay so the one thing that we need to
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establish for this to make any sense is
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that android at its very core
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is open source meaning that its code is
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completely public
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and because of that there are no hidden
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trackers or spyware google made it this
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way because
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back when it started they had nothing
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they were behind apple
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in the race for a smartphone operating
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system and so the way they encouraged
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people to adopt android and develop for
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it
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was by using the fact that it’s
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completely free and open but
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this is changing as android started to
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explode in popularity
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google realized well hey this is great
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but we’re not really benefiting from
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this
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for as long as android remains open
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source the code is everyone’s
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it doesn’t really belong to us what we
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want is really to
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channel this user base that we’ve built
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up and push them towards closed source
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google products that
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do make us money like our chrome browser
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so
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as the years have gone on google has one
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by one been taking the core features of
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android the calendar the music app the
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keyboard the camera
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and improving them but then making the
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improved versions of these apps
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closed source instead of open they’ve
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made it such that for you to use youtube
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gmail maps
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or even any app that just has google
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services in its code like uber then you
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have to consent to handing your data to
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google play services
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whose code base and inner workings are
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completely hidden we don’t know what
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data is being collected
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we just know that data is being
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collected an average android phone
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connects to google servers
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once every 4.5 minutes to send them info
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about you
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some of it for your benefit to allow
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your apps to work but some of it
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probably not you’ve got to remember that
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first and foremost google
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is an advertising company so there’s the
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obvious implication that at least some
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of this data will be used to just
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squeeze more money out of users by laser
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targeting them with just the right ads
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at just the right time but there are
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bigger implications because
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we know that this data is not always
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just kept within google
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there are plenty of governments around
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the world who want to control and censor
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their populations
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and google has been shown to have
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willingly handed over user data
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when asked for it by those governments
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we’ve even had cases where innocent
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people have been taken to court because
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their google location data has shown
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that they were near the scene of a crime
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how did law enforcement get that data
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google gave it to them
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oh yeah and thanks to surfsharkvpn for
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sponsoring this video
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the point is 99 of android phones that
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you can buy off the shelf right now
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attracting us in ways that we don’t
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fully know and this is why calyx os
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exists
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but what is it you know i mentioned that
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at its very core
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if you stripped away all those extras
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from google and your service providers
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android is open source right well kalix
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uses that core
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but instead of having google play
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services as the layer that sits on top
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of that
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it uses something called micro g which
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you could think of as a bit like a fake
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id
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for your phone it creates a random
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anonymous unique identifier which allows
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it to be registered as a certified
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google device
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but one for which your activity can’t be
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traced back to you
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so i can use google maps i can watch
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youtube videos
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i can download apps without needing to
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sign into a single account
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and using this os you get not one but
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two app stores
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you have f droid which provides you with
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100 open source applications
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whose code is completely public and so
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by their very nature
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cannot steal your data but then also
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the aurora store which is super
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interesting it’s basically the play
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store
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except when you download an app through
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it instead of you going directly to
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google and requesting that app
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it’s aurora who goes to google and gets
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that app for you
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so the only info about you that google
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sees is a random email address that the
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aurora store creates for you
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the only thing it can’t do right now is
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let you pay for apps i think they’re
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working on that but what’s really cool
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is that also unlike the play store
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aurora tells you for every single app
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how many and which trackers it comes
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with
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you’re starting to get the idea calyx
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basically has most of the main perks of
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android
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but i’ve barely touched on this yet you
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will not believe the privacy features
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for example it has a built-in firewall
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that allows you to restrict what level
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of internet access
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that you want each of your apps to have
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let’s say for example that
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i really want to use the closed source
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google pixel camera app
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because really the quality of google’s
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open source android camera
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kind of sucks but at the same time i’m
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worried about the faces of my friends
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and family potentially being stored on a
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server somewhere
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well now i can still download the app
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and then just use the firewall to cut
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off its communications with google
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fun fact doing this also removes ads and
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extends your battery life because you’re
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limiting the amount of processes that
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are happening in the background
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i’ve actually got the exact same phone
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here pixel 5
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and this one’s running android and when
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i tested the battery side by side
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this isn’t a conclusive experiment but i
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found that calyx lasted six percent
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longer
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which is still significant plus it gives
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you supreme control over app permissions
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including a visualization of how many
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times each permission of your phone
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has been accessed but on top of that it
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has a permanently active free vpn
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baked into it to make your internet
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traffic untraceable
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that said i’ve turned mine off because
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the fact that it is a single server
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based all the way in new york
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does bottleneck my speed these are just
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such thoughtful features
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for example on calyx os when you go into
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the dialer and call someone
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by default instead of using a normal
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voice call which can be snooped on
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it will do a signal call to them which
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is end-to-end encrypted
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in fact they’ve literally managed to
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swap every single data gathering app
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for a clean alternative that doesn’t
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feel like a compromise
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they swapped google chrome for chromium
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which is basically chrome but without
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all the proprietary extras google maps
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has gone in place of open street maps
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even google drive is gone and instead in
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its place you have seed vault
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which can backup all your files both to
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a local usb drive and
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an open source cloud solution called
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nextcloud but
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this whole privacy thing it’s about more
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than just privacy from google
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it’s also just privacy from everyone
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else
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for example if you go into the dialer
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you have a list of helplines
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things like the number for domestic
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abuse in your region or childline or
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suicide hotlines
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and this software will know that when
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you dial those numbers not to save them
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in your call log
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in case someone in your own home tries
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to pry
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they’ve even got i just think this is
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such a wacky interesting feature
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a panic button so if i hold down my
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power button i can see emergency
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services and the option to shut down as
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usual
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but also this third option and i can
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configure that button to do pretty much
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wherever i want wanted to
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i can make it hide my private messages i
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can make it delete certain apps
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i can even make it factory reset my
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phone if
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i get into a really sticky situation
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i spent the last two days trying to
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fault this os but
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i’m struggling like yes the default
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calyx user interface is
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kind of grim but it’s got enough
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customization controls that
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you can pretty much recreate the look of
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any other company’s home screen
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yes there are some google features that
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you just can’t use on this phone
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without logging into your google account
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even when you have micro g
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like for example if i just want to plot
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a route on google maps i can do that
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anonymously
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but if i then want to quick select from
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my past routes then i am going to have
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to log in because
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google needs to know which user i am but
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this is kind of the whole appeal of an
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operating system like this
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installing alex once is not just going
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to immediately make you disappear off
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the grid like you never existed
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but it is going to give you that control
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back it’s going to mean that
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you can pick the level of privacy you
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want based on the features you need
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as opposed to just defaulting to sharing
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everything this all seems a bit
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too good to be true and so at this point
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i started wondering who made this
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why isn’t everyone using calyx instead
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of android and should google be worried
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about this
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after all it’s basically encouraging
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people to use google services
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without google getting the full benefit
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from that well
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to find out i jumped on a call with this
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guy nicholas merrill
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who’s the founder of the project and
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kind of a badass
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he used to run his own internet service
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provider but one day the fbi came
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knocking at his door
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they said we want to see the data of
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some of your customers
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but he didn’t hand it to them and
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instead of saying no
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he sued them and won his argument was
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that privacy is a basic human right
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and in the exact same way that no one
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should be allowed to break into your
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home and read your diary
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no one should be allowed to read your
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private online data and that moment was
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kind of the trigger as to why he
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started the calyx institute which is
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this not-for-profit company that he’s
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saying has one goal
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to bring privacy to as many people as
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possible it sounds like an incredibly
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noble mission
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so why has no one heard of this well
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i think the fundamental barrier here is
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that yes this calyx institute
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has a membership program which does
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bring in some income
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but because of how this entire calyx
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operating system is open source
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it in itself is not really a sustainable
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business model
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i’m told that right now the team behind
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this is just 11 people
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and with a format like this it’s really
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tough to take that and scale up
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and make advertising campaigns and get
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compatibility with all phones
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right now this only works on google
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pixel devices
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besides for the time being at least even
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though google and other companies do
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have
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piles of data on us and even though
09:27
there does seem to be a growing
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population who would go to great lengths
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to protect their privacy
09:32
for the vast majority it’s still not
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enough of an incentive
09:36
to go through even the minor effort of
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installing something like this
09:39
there’s no hard evidence that for an
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average user in a democratic society
09:43
giving away their data causes them any
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harm and so
09:46
this entire pitch of trying to protect
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that data it doesn’t really carry any
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urgency
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i’m the same and to be honest the only
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reason i can even do this
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talk tech with you and make a living
09:55
from it is because of these trackers and
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spyware that google uses
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so it has its positives too oh while
10:02
you’re out there by the way if you are
10:03
enjoying this then a sub to the channel
10:04
would be
10:06
safe what would be a game changer though
10:09
something these guys are really pushing
10:10
for
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is to get a partnership with an oem a
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company like xiaomi or oneplus
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who makes phone hardware and who’d be
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willing to pre-install calyx os
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instead of android it’s definitely
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possible like this company actually did
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recently just get calyx working
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on a xiaomi phone and i could see the
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appeal of it
10:28
let’s just say xiaomi said yeah sure
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we’ll use calyx on one of our models
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then straight away without any effort on
10:34
their part
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they’ve already got their slogan sorted
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keep your private stuff
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private no probably not that slogan
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actually
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but i guess what makes this really
10:44
tricky is that xiaomi would then be
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running the risk of getting on the wrong
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side of google
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which given how much they rely on them
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may not be the best idea it’s tricky one
10:54
but do consider sharing this video with
10:55
someone who is more privacy conscious
10:58
who knows maybe one day this will be the
11:00
norm
11:02
okay at this point i probably don’t need
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to tell you what a vpn is
11:05
if you either want to browse the
11:06
internet anonymously change the location
11:08
of your device to another country to
11:09
watch tv shows from that country or just
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avoid censorship or even if all you want
11:13
is to escape data throttling from your
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internet service provider
11:17
then a vpn is the way to go but at that
11:19
point you’re faced with a question of
11:21
which one do i go for and from what i’ve
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seen at least
11:24
there is no other vpn that’s offering
11:26
close to what surfshark is
11:27
unlimited number of users and 24 7
11:30
support for this kind of price

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