New Versions of Useful Tools: Freedom Fone and Orbot

Posted by KatrinVerclas on Apr 21, 2010

Two mobile tools that we have been watching with interest have new versions out and available for public beta and testing. 

Freedom Fone

Freedom Fone, developed by Kubatana in Zimbabwe, is an interactive voice response system that allows callers to access audio information on their mobile phones. It is aimed at organizations who want to set interactive up audio news services for their audiences. Freedom Fone is now out in version 1.5 and available for public testing and use. 

While there are many such interactive voice systems (Asterisk is the most well-known open source VOIP platform, with many commercial, open source versions such as Trixbox using Asterisk), Freedom Fone is focused on an NGO audience with easy install and setup that minimizes the need for technical expertise. 

Freedom Fone is based on FreeSWITCH, another VOIP platform, and a variety of other open source projects such as SpidermonkeyPHP5Cake PHP and  JQuery. Freedom Fone also uses Cepstral, a text-to-speech voice engine to synthesize voice messages.

A list of Freedom Fone v1.5's features is here.  Freedom Fone can be downloaded here.  The software replaces a given system, so if you install it make sure you have a free computer available that you can turn into the Freedom Fone server with the install. To test the SMS and voice menu features on your computer you will have to buy an SMS modem. Freedom Fone recommends MobiGater, a GSM device used to connect a SIM card to Freedom Fone server.

To test-drive Freedom Fone, there is an online demo and a power point presentation (216KB) for more information. The source code and known bug information for Freedom Fone can be found here.

Tor on Android - Orbot

We have been writing a lot about the need for communicating securely on mobiles. Mobile phones are notoriously insecure devices and there are many gaps that expose activists, journalists, and rights advocates around the world. However, there are some dedicated developers who are actively working on bridging these gaps. Writ the newest release of one of these developers: A software package called Orbot. 

Orbot allows mobile phone users to access the web, instant messaging and email without being monitored or blocked by their mobile Internet service provider. Orbot brings the features and functionality of Tor, the well-known Internet traffic anonymizer, to the Android mobile operating system.

Technically, Orbot contains Tor, libevent and privoxy. Orbot provides a local HTTP proxy and the standard SOCKS4A/SOCKS5 proxy interfaces into the Tor network. Orbot has the ability to transparently "torify" all of the TCP traffic on an Android device when it has the correct permissions.

Orbot is not currently in the Android Market.  You can install Orbot by scanning theQR code below with the Android Barcode scanner or download the most recent version of Orbot and the gpg signature.

As Nathan Freitas, principal developer for Orbot, pointd out, Orbot is currently aimed at power users and those who want to test drive the application. The code is available in the Orbot subversion repository.


New Versions of Useful Tools: Freedom Fone and Orbot data sheet 3890 Views
Countries: United States Zimbabwe

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