‘Snoop proof’ Taiga smartphone launched by Kaspersky co-founder

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Kaspersky Lab’s Taiga smartphone is said to protect user data from companies and government.


Kaspersky Lab‘s co-founder Natalya Kaspersky has been working on a smartphone called ‘Taiga’, designed to keep big tech firms and apps from spying on user data. Kaspersky, in collaboration with Moscow-based InfoWatch Group, has launched Taiga in Russia amidst country’s geopolitical tension with the US.

Taiga runs on a customized Android-based firmware developed by InfoWatch. This custom OS is said to have added controls over the smartphone’s camera and location services when compared to regular smartphones with Android OS. Taiga will let users select settings based on the level of security they wish to have. The smartphone is named after the forests in Siberia, and comes at a time when user data has become the most debatable topic across the globe.

Where is the user data collected and what happens with this data, is the paramount question being asked from government and IT companies around the world. The situation in Russia is even more tensed as the government there seeks for less reliance on US-based companies such as Google, Microsoft, and others. As Bloomberg reports, InfoWatch Group and Kaspersky seek to capitalize on the current ties between Russia and the US. ALSO READ: Kaspersky Lab’s new technology will protect you from audio surveillance

The first 50,000 Taiga phones will be shipped to employees of Russian firms that co-owned or controlled by the state. Taiga smartphones are manufactured in China, and the company is looking at other potential markets such as Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates. ALSO READ: WhatsApp privacy policy: Personal data integral to life and dignity; Centre tells Supreme Court

As of now, a complete list of specifications, and other features of the smartphone remains sketchy. As The Inquirer reports, Taiga will come with a 5-inch touchscreen display, dual-SIM slots, and a front and rear camera sensors.  It is not certain if the custom OS will give users access to Google Play Store. The Taiga smartphone is said to priced at $260 (approximately Rs 18,000)