PanicKit 1.0: built-in panic button and full app wipes

Panic Kit is 1.0! After over three years of use, it is time to call this stable and ready for widespread use.

Built-in panic button

This round of work includes a new prototype for embedding PanicKit directly into Android. Android 9.0 Pie introduced a new “lockdown” mode which follows some of the patterns laid out by PanicKit. There is an Enter lockdown button available on the power button menu, so it is rapidly available. This is a great panic trigger button, so we made a prototype of a System Settings app that lets users connect the full flexibility of PanicKit responses to this Enter lockdown button. The functionality that Google links to this new button is extremely limited, it seems to be a one time restriction on how you login. The PanicKit responses are in addition to what Google included. CalyxOS is working to integrate this, look for test releases soon!

Full wipes of selected apps

F-Droid v1.7-alpha1 has alpha support for uninstalling and wiping all data from selected apps in response to a panic trigger, including Ripple and F-Droid. So the whole panic setup could be wiped as part of the response. It is essential to have a complete, tested backup before trying this new feature, since it will delete all of the data for each app that is uninstalled.

This requires F-Droid Privileged Extension be installed on the device, in order to uninstall apps without a prompt for each app. Android ROMs like CalyxOS, CopperheadOS, Fairphone Open, Replicant, and Lineage-for-microG all include F-Droid Privileged Extension.

Ripple is polished up

Ripple also received some modernization and polish. Google has reinstated the Ripple app in Google Play, so it is again widely available. Ripple was of course available the whole time via F-Droid. Google suspended Ripple without explanation, then a long while later reinstated it without explanation.

This work was made possible in part from donations from Handshake Foundation.