Send in your ideas. Deadline October 1, 2024

NGI Mobifree Launches to Develop Ethical Mobile Software

Text: Mobifree: more ethical and humane mobile software and logos of the participating partners

The NGI Mobifree project aims to alter the landscape of mobile software through a commitment to ethical practices, user empowerment, and sustainability. Spearheaded by the E Foundation, the project unites twelve organizations in a collaborative effort to challenge the status quo of mobile technology development. Mobifree is made possible with funding of the European Commission's Next Generation Internet initiative.

For decades, the mobile software industry has been dominated by Big Tech companies, leading to widespread concerns over privacy violations, environmental impact, and the exploitation of labor. Mobifree aims to address these issues head-on by advocating for a shift towards more open, transparent, and user-focused solutions.

Call for third party contributions

NLnet participates in Mobifree to organise the open calls for third party contributions to the project. Part of the budget of Mobifree (670 000 Euro to be precise) is reserved for open calls to fund additional free and open source efforts that are aligned with the topics and approach of Mobifree. We already got started and are evaluating the first batch of applications. Calls open every two months and the next deadline for submitting a proposal is June 1, 2024.

Core values and objectives

Mobifree is built around a set of core values that prioritize the digital rights of users, including privacy and freedom of speech. The project aims to deliver user-friendly mobile experiences that foster fair competition through the use of open data standards and encourage the empowerment of workers with fair labor practices.

Inclusiveness is also a central component of the project, with efforts focused on ensuring that software is accessible to everyone, regardless of their physical abilities, financial status, or level of technical expertise. Moreover, the initiative is committed to environmental sustainability, advocating for development practices that minimize the carbon footprint of mobile software.

Empowering European citizens and organizations

Through a series of workshops and pilot tests, Mobifree seeks to engage directly with European citizens and organizations to better understand their needs and values regarding mobile software. These insights will inform the development of software in key IT areas, including:

  • e/OS, a fully open-source operating system for Android-based phones
  • Privacy-focused app stores, messaging services, and mobile maps tools, such as F-Droid, microG, Conversations, Quicksy, and Delta Chat
  • Disaster and emergency response applications, such as the software kit by Commit Global.

Collaborative effort for a sustainable future

Mobifree represents a significant step forward in the movement towards a more ethical and sustainable digital world. By focusing on open-source solutions and pro-privacy initiatives, the project challenges the industry to adopt practices that are not only beneficial for users but also positive for the environment. "We believe that the future of mobile software should be built on principles of digital freedom, privacy, sustainability and openness", said Gaël Duval, the President of E Foundation. "In the Mobifree Project we collaborate with 12 partners to make that future a reality."

List of partners in the Mobifree project:
  • E Foundation maintains /e/OS, a 100% open-source and privacy safe operating system based on the Android Open Source Project.
  • Waag Futurelab reinforces critical reflection on technology, develops technological and social design skills, and encourages social innovation.
  • Murena provides smartphones pre-installed with /e/OS and combines them with the Murena Cloud.
  • Rapid.Space builds an open-source, open-hardware 5G Edge Cloud to get you online in the most remote places!
  • microG is an open-source implementation of APIs, libraries and services that Android apps need to run.
  • F-Droid is an installable catalogue of FOSS (Free and Open Source Software) applications for the Android platform.
  • microG an open-source implementation of APIs, libraries and services that Android apps need to run.
  • Conversations is an open-source, privacy-safe and ecnryptable Jabber/XMPP messenger for Android.
  • Quicksy is a spin-off of Conversations with with Easy Entry and Easy Discovery by automatic contact discovery.
  • is a proof-of-concept e-mail client based on JMAP, the next-gen email protocol.
  • Merlinux is facilitating and sponsoring the development of Delta.Chat
  • University of Amsterdam, Institute for Information Law (IViR)The Institute for Information Law (IViR) of the University of Amsterdam researches the entire spectrum of legal areas related to today’s information societies.
  • Commit Global builds and provides open-source digital solutions for civic and humanitarian infrastructures.
  • BioSense Institute (BIOS) is an R&D institute for IT in biosystems.
  • NLnet supports organisations and people who contribute to an open internet for all.


Logo European Commission

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon Europe research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 101135795.