Container/sandbox for selected apps (such as WhatsApp)
[FEATURE PROPOSAL] Container/sandbox for some selected apps (such as WhatsApp)
For many smartphone users there are a few closed source apps that are crucial - for private or professional reasons. Some of those apps can be easily replaced by open source wrappers (such as Facebook, Twitter or YouTube). For others, the only way to be part of it, is to install the original closed source app. I believe WhatsApp is the first that comes to my mind that many users will have difficulties to avoid. But there are others I could easily think of.
I would like to have the option to install WhatsApp and other apps on my /e/ system, right away into a container/sandbox to limit their appetite for private data. This solution should work out of the box, be absolutely hassle-free, functional and totally self-explaining.
There are already software solutions available such as Shelter and Island but for now it seems they do not comply to the criteria as mentioned above. Personally, I'd prefer a solution that is made for a specific app and well tested, rather than a more generic app (such as Shelter) that may cause unforeseen trouble to the user and is potentially too complicated for 'Mums & Dads'. What could do is an adapted and more integrated version of Shelter.
- Defining a priority list of one, two or three apps (to start with), where this container/sandbox should be applied. WhatsApp, WhatsApp Business, Instagram, Snapchat, Skype,... - let the community decide upon a priority list.
- Installation. Via AppStore. To select whether to install app in a standard manner or in an isolated /e/-security cage (see image below).
- Usability. In the case of WhatsApp, the user then should validate each an every contact whether it should be made available to WhatsApp (in this case only the phone number and the name should be shared with the WA-address book and nothing else). The behaviour for other apps should be similar.
- Users could get a hassle-free solution using this application, knowing that they share as little contact data as possible with the company behind.
- This feature could be combined in a useful way with the parental control / junior digital wellbeing feature (#360) in order to allow juniors the usage of WhatsApp or Snapchat while protecting their data.
- Users would be enabled to comply much easier with the GDPR (the European General Data Protection Regulation). That might be a huge advantage to small business holders, freelancers and craftsmen who are in a tricky situation since the introduction of the GDPR in 2018.
- Furthermore: /e/ could send a positive sign to the users: We enable you to use this app, we even protect you as much as possible, but the app absolutely needs to be put it into a cage - so, in time you should better look out for a replacement app...
- Shelter. Open Source. https://f-droid.org/packages/net.typeblog.shelter/. Further info: https://www.xda-developers.com/shelter-open-source-sandboxing-app/
- Island. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.oasisfeng.island&hl=en_US/. Further info: https://island.oasisfeng.com/
Relevant logs and/or screenshots
- Discussion in the forum on: https://community.e.foundation/t/feature-proposal-whatsapp-container/4150
- Screenshot (how I imagine to install an app into a container/sandbox):