The project aims to reduce dependence on foreign operating systems in smartphones and promote the use of locally developed technology
A new mobile operating system focused on privacy and security has been developed by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras. BharOS is an Indian government-funded project to develop a free and open-source operating system (OS) for use in government and public systems.
The project aims to reduce dependence on foreign operating systems in smartphones and promote the use of locally developed technology.
What are the features?
BharOS comes with no default apps (NDA). This means that users are not forced to use apps they may not be familiar with or trust. In addition, this approach gives users more control over the permissions that apps have on their device, as they can choose to allow only apps they trust to access certain features or data on their device.
According to Karthik Ayyar, director of JandK Operations Pvt Ltd. – the start-up that developed this mobile operating system – offers BharOS “‘Native Over The Air’ (NOTA) updates that can help keep the devices secure. NOTA updates are automatically downloaded and installed on the device, without that the user has to start the process manually, which ensures that the device always has the latest version [version of the] operating system, including the latest security patches and bug fixes. With NDA, PASS and NOTA, BharOS ensures Indian mobile phones are reliable.”
BharOS provides access to apps from organization-specific Private App Store Services (PASS). A PASS provides access to a curated list of apps that have been thoroughly vetted and meet certain organizational security and privacy standards. This means that users can rest assured that the apps they install are safe to use and have been checked for potential security vulnerabilities or privacy concerns.
Who uses this system?
BharOS services are currently provided to organizations that have strict privacy and security requirements and whose users handle sensitive information that requires confidential communication on restricted mobile phone apps. These users need access to private cloud services over private 5G networks.
Who made it?
The BharOS is developed by JandK Operations Private Limited (JandKops), which is incubated by IIT Madras Pravartak Technologies Foundation – a Section 8 (Not for Profit) Company founded by IIT Madras. The Foundation is funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India, under its National Mission on Interdisciplinary Cyber-Physical Systems (NMICPS). It aims to align India with the few countries that currently have these capabilities.
Speaking at a January 19 press conference to announce this Indian mobile operating system, Prof. V. Kamakoti, Director of IIT Madras, said: “BharOS Service is a mobile operating system built on a foundation of trust, with a focus on providing users more freedom, control and [the] flexibility to choose and use only the apps that meet their needs. This innovative system promises to revolutionize the way users think about security and privacy on their mobile devices.”
“IIT Madras looks forward to working closely with many more private industries, government agencies, strategic agencies and telecom service providers to increase the use and adoption of BharOS in our country,” he added.