InfoWatch Group, a Russian security company, has introduced a smartphone called Taiga. Taiga prevents apps from collecting data, making it the ideal choice for users who want to limit tracking activity while using their mobile device.
The smartphone has been called “surveillance proof” and “the ultimate paranoia phone”.
The main goal of Taiga is to prevent apps from tracking any user activity, with a specific focus on work-related emails, documents, and photos. However, the phone also broadly prevents any app from collecting or sending usage data – which has a big impact on the way apps operate.
Take Gmail, for example. Gmail scans your emails to deliver better ads to you. You can still use Gmail on the Taiga smartphone, although the app will not be able to collect or report data.
How Does Taiga Work?
Taiga runs on a forked version of Android. That version is designed to run in tandem with InfoWatch-created firmware.
The first 50,000 Taiga phones are being delivered to specific companies across Russia. Specifically, the phones will be used by employees of Russian companies co-owned by the state.
At this point, consumers cannot yet purchase the Taiga smartphone.
We’re In a New Technological Cold War
Some analysts believe we’re entering a new “technological cold war” between the United State and Russia.
Two weeks ago, the United States government banned its employees from using Kaspersky antivirus software – typically rated as some of the best software in the world. The decision was made after reported ties between Kaspersky and the Russian government.
Natalya Kaspersky, the co-founder and former CEO of Kaspersky Lab, is now President of InfoWatch Group – the company that made the Taiga smartphone.
Meanwhile, last November, the Russian government announced plans to replace all Microsoft software with Russian equivalents on government computers. Then, they banned LinkedIn – the networking website owned by Microsoft.
Why Would You Use an Anti-Tracking Smartphone?
Today, it’s easier than ever for apps to track your personal information.
SpyStealth is one of the biggest phone tracking apps you need to worry about. Anyone can use SpyStealth to track crucial information on a smartphone – including everything from SMS tracking to application tracking. If SpyStealth is installed on a Taiga phone, it’s unlikely going to work because the phone blocks all app-related tracking and data storage.
On any ordinary smartphone, however, you can even use SpyStealth to track photos, videos, and camera feeds. It’s surprisingly powerful.
Beyond SpyStealth, you can find tracking software on apps installed across the Android ecosystem – even apps that were legitimately downloaded from the Google Play Store.
Ultimately, you can never be too careful out there. The anti-tracking Taiga smartphone likely won’t be available to consumers anytime soon – but if you work at a non-US government institution or company, you may be forced to use anti-tracking smartphones like Taiga at some point in the future.