InfoWatch Group, a Russian security company, has introduced a smartphone that prevents apps from collecting data, Bloomberg reported.
The Taiga phone is intended to keep apps from tracking any user activity, especially any work-related emails, documents, and photos, but broadly prevents any app from collecting or sending usage data. While apps like Gmail — which is known for scanning email text to power ads — can be used on the Taiga phone, they’ll be unable to collect or report data on their use.
While the phone runs Android, it’s a forked version designed to run in tandem with InfoWatch-created firmware. The first 50,000 Taiga phones are being delivered to employees of Russian companies co-owned by the state. (It’s not yet a phone consumers can buy.)
The Taiga, which which gets its name from the boreal snow forest terrain of Siberia and Canada, is just the latest example of the technological cold war that has emerged between the U.S. and Russia. Just over two weeks ago, the U.S. government banned software from the Moscow-based security firm Kaspersky Lab, citing alleged ties to the Russian government. Natalya Kaspersky, co-founder and previous CEO of the Kaspersky Lab, is now President of InfoWatch Group.
InfoWatch recently opened offices in Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates, so the Taiga may appear in these countries soon.