One co-founder of Russia's Kaspersky Labs, Natalya Kaspersky, has a new project in the works aimed at making it easier for those who want to avoid data-collection to do so. In fact, that project is a phone that goes under the "Taiga" branding and was co-designed by InfoWatch Group – which is headed by Kaspersky and based in the country. The devices itself utilizes a combination of enterprise-like controls and a specialized mechanism to prevent applications running on the device from sending any data to outside servers. That also provides a level of control for corporations or governments to control which applications can be installed, to begin with, in addition to controlling which information or content can be shared from the device.
The Taiga handset itself appears to be a response, at least in part, to Kaspersky Lab's recent falling out with the U.S. government. For those who aren't already aware, the security software provider was blocked from being used by government employees and agencies, following allegations of ties to the Russian government. Interestingly, and although there hasn't been any evidence to support that claim, the first 50,000 will be used by employees of Russia-based companies which do have ties to the country's government. In fact, InfoWatch itself is reportedly backed by the Kremlin and the move follows in line with the Russian state's ongoing work to reduce its reliance on U.S.-based companies such as Google. In reality, this seems to be part of a larger trend of distrust between some governments and out-of-country smartphone manufacturers.
While providing the most powerful device is obviously not the goal with the Taiga phone, as of this writing, the company hasn't really provided any further details about the Android-based handset. In fact, the device hasn't even been described as fitting into any specific tier and a specific price range hasn't been provided. That means for the time being, there isn't anything that can be surmised about how many hours the battery will last, how powerful its processor is, or how much it will potentially cost customers in the various markets it could appear in. However, some speculation can be made as to which markets it will eventually be sold in, outside of Russia. The current expectation includes areas where InfoWatch Group has offices – namely in Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates.