The apps in the new /e/ app store have a ranking regarding the trackers and the permissions for each app. I think the intent is good. But, /e/ is - I thought - primarily directed toward the “average person”. The difficulty I see is this: When I look at those rankings, they mean nothing to me. I don’t know how to evaluate them. If an app has a score of 4, is that bad? I know I can drill into the permissions and trackers, but that becomes even more bewildering for me - I don’t know if those are dangerous permissions and trackers, if they are unnecessary, etc.
I think the difficulty is that the current rating is somehow automatically generated based on the permissions the app asks for.
This leads to Google Chrome having a better rating than Mozilla Firefox, which is not how I feel about these two apps.
Although permissions can be an indicator to be considered it leaves out what the app does with them while running.
An app can misuse the few permissions it has or it can use the many permissions it has very responsibly and respect privacy.
So some form of more comprehensive rating that takes all aspects of the apps privacy related activity into account could help.
Maybe something like a 5 star user privacy rating. If you vote you are asked to give short feedback as well to explain your vote. Similar to user app experience 5 star ratings that already exist and in my view mostly work well.
The privacy score already uses the red/amber/green colour coding.
I like being able to look at the permissions and trackers but appreciate that non-technical users would probably not be interested in this. I am a bit sceptical about some of the tracker information provided though. Does Google Chrome really have no trackers?
The privacy rating should also be based on the apps terms and service agreement and whether they intend to collect your data and share it to 3rd parties. Also maybe added which is hard and can be user flagged but that of data compromises/hacks in the past, surveillance conclusion (prism for example) and user treatment.
To be honest I am glad that the app store is as it is in the moment.
I guess the effort to security check all apps would be enormous and would have delayed for a long time.
That said it does not mean it the store cannot develop further. Hence my suggestion to use some user privacy 5star rating.
I guess one of the challenges the / e/ team faces is that here are at least two user groups.
people who just want to have less google/tracking etc…
people who want a really secure system that makes it hard to spy on and I guess all shades in between
In the moment the objective of the first group are far more easy to meet, but that should not mean to stop there.
AppStore as you may be aware was developed from scratch by the development team and is not forked from other existing repositories. Thanks for all the suggestions and feedback on improving it. The developers are going through it and will be updating the AppStore UI / functionality based on these suggestions.
EXACTLY my concern. Similarly with trackers: Which are necessary for the nature of the app, and which are nefarious?
Also, the system is confusing. On the /e/ app store, using the Facebook app as an example, version 22.214.171.124.114 has a “score” of zero, with a red circle around it. I assume a low numerical score means something like “not good”, is that correct? When I click on the trackers, it lists seven trackers, and then says, “Computed using Exodus Privacy analyses”. But, when I go to Exodus Privacy, first of all there is no version 126.96.36.199.114 for the Facebook app. But, the previous 26 versions of Facebook shown on Exodus Privacy report zero trackers in each of those versions. So, it appears that Exodus Privacy contradicts what the report in the /e/ app store is saying.
Also, I want to state, I completely understand that the app store is new, and the work to develop something like what we are discussing here is a lot of work and may have to wait as other parts of the app store are developed. I appreciate the efforts done for this.
I echo some of the comments on privacy and some more work required. Two editor apps, CSV editor and byte mobile’s editor ask how I want my apps tailored to my preferences, which doesn’t sound too privacy aware.
I do like the metrics put in but Ts and Cs are surely a factor esp regarding Facebook and Chrome.