A company headed-up by Kaspersky Lab's co-founder, Natalya Kasperksya, is set to release a smartphone that, the company claims, can prevent Google and other data-slurping internet companies from spying on users.
The Taiga smartphone has been designed by Moscow-based InfoWatch Group, which is headed up by Kasperskya, who also co-founded and was CEO of Kaspersky Lab with her ex-husband, Eugene Kaspersky.
As CEO of the early Kaspersky Lab, Kasperskya was responsible for building up the company's sales channels and technical support network for international markets.
"Most smartphone apps collect certain data on users and send it to outside servers," said Natalya Kasperskya, co-owner of InfoWatch, quoted by Bloomberg, at the launch on Friday. "When people use personal phones at work, their corporate emails, documents and job-related photos come under threat of being - maliciously or accidentally - leaked to third parties."
Based on a customised version of Android, the device will run on firmware created by InfoWatch. It's not clear whether it will come bundled with the Google Play store, following an anti-trust tussle with Russian authorities over the bundling of Google apps on Android.
According to reports, the operating system will have extra controls over the smartphone's camera and location services, with users able to select settings based on the level of security they want.
The most extreme security setting will reduce it to the level of a feature phone without the features - only able to make calls. Security software firm Symantec has, reports suggest, also worked on some of the key security capabilities.
However, the device is not being made in large numbers - at least, not initially. The Taiga smartphone will be made in China with the first 50,000 destined for the employees of companies co-owned by the Russian state. InfoWatch Group has also opened sales and marketing offices in a number of potential overseas markets, including the United Arab Emirates and Malaysia.
The Taiga smartphone also been a long time coming, with Russian newspaper Izvestia reporting on it back in February 2015. The device will cost around $260, has a five-inch touchscreen, two SIM slots and front and rear cameras.
In addition to degrees from the Moscow Institute of Electronics and Mathematics, where she studied applied mathematics, Kasperskya also holds a degree in business from the Open University.
The design and production of the device represents something of a departure for InfoWatch Group itself, with the company's core technology based around data-loss prevention software and services focused on Middle Eastern and South East Asian markets.
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