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Out of the matrix

Digital self-determination in times of surveillance, control and censorship. As daily companions, smartphones in particular are a hub of personal communication, information and activities with a complete movement profile. According to the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, not only self-determination over one's own data is under special protection, contrary to legal trends, but also free access to information. The young company Volla Systeme offers an answer to this growing discrepancy with its German-made Volla Phones and a partner network for digital self-determination.


The surveillance of communication is no secret. The Federal Republic of Germany maintains the Central Office for Information Technology in the Security Sector (ZITIS) for this purpose. It "provides tools, advises the security authorities on implementation and develops new methods and strategies for them". The Digital Service has also imposed "a general obligation to take proactive measures in relation to illegal content" on private internet services known as "large platforms". The conflict between the popular platform X and the EU and the exchange of blows between Elon Musk and the Federal Foreign Office show the growing explosive power of freedom of expression and the desire of politicians to control opinion.

Can freedom of the press, freedom of expression and the protection of privacy still be guaranteed in the age of digitalization? Why is privacy actually important? Because knowledge is power and knowledge about people means power over people. Although many people still live by Otto Waalkes' motto "I know nothing. Do nothing", but the past years of repression have woken up a growing number of people. There is no need for Telegram channels when even official documents such as the study "The future of people's values in our country" openly favors a social credit system based on the Chinese model or the "Smart City Charter" of the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety announces a "post-voting" and "post-choice society" in which data collection and AI replace citizens' self-determination and co-determination.

A secure smartphone as the foundation of digital self-determination

A free society, which is ultimately a prerequisite for justice, peace and prosperity, will be based on an independent and secure infrastructure in technical terms. This can only be a distributed, highly encrypted infrastructure that cannot be manipulated, sanitized or compromised by third parties. This means independence from ubiquitous cloud services as we know them, but also from the data infrastructure itself. This avoids the concentration of power and therefore also its misuse.

The importance of the smartphone as a personal, constant companion in everyday life can hardly be overestimated. After all, they are the nodes of the communication network. It is therefore hardly surprising that you are the primary target of advertisers, opinion makers and politicians. This is exactly where Volla System comes in to implement a secure and independent communication infrastructure.

Although the in-house operating system Volla OS is based on the popular Android operating system, it is completely decoupled from the cloud, unlike Apple's iOS and Google's stock Android. Users decide for themselves whether and which service they use. Apple, on the other hand, has access to user data via the iCloud and is also obliged by the Cloud Act to make this data available to the authorities. The same applies to the Google Cloud, which is inextricably linked to stock Android via the Play services.

"It's time for something new," concludes Dr. Jörg Wurzer, founder of Volla Systeme. As a manufacturer of smartphones, the company uses the associated technical possibility to clean up and secure the software from the device drivers up to the user interface of the operating system. There is no back door. Volla OS is completely open source so that the promise can be verified and with the help of an active community. The security is flanked by the production of the hardware in Germany and a trust zone in the chipset, which makes it impossible to transfer the memory contents if the device falls into the hands of strangers.

A special security mode controls all data traffic and thus paralyzes trackers, blocks advertising and blocks malware, not only in the browser but also for installed apps. And anyone who absolutely needs apps for work that are not trustworthy, such as Zoom or WhatsApp, can temporarily block them completely so that they do not run in the background.

"We work with a network of partners to provide our customers with the best possible protection," says Wurzer, describing the strategy. Also on board is the VPN provider, which is not obliged to record Internet activity due to its location and has developed a special protocol that gives third parties no chance to monitor users' Internet traffic. This means that the selection of news channels is also subject to free choice, as censorship by blocking websites in the virtual private network (VPN) is ineffective.
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