Snowden Turns Android Phones Into Personal Security Systems

Edward Snowden has helped develop "Haven," an app that turns your phone into an intelligent listening device.

Snowden Haven App
Friso Gentsch / AP Images

Edward Snowden has helped develop "Haven," an app that turns your phone into an intelligent listening device.

Edward Snowden, the former programmer for the National Security Agency (NSA) who leaked top secret information regarding the NSA’s surveillance activities, has partnered with the Freedom of the Press Foundation and the Guardian Project to create a new Android app. According to the app’s official website, the app turns phones into a personal security system that utilizes existing phone sensors to detect and record motion, sound, vibration, light, and more. These recordings are only saved when set sensors measure a change, including the accelerometer, camera, and microphone. The app uses open source coding and is currently in a current beta release.

Many individuals concerned with security appreciate one of the main design goals of Haven. Users are not required to share their data with any outside source or third-party. It was fundamental for the creators that people not be required to give up privacy to gain security. This goal appears to have been met, according to initial reviews of the Haven app, although it is noted that some data may be leaked to anyone who can access your text messages, as photos, audio, and video are sent remotely via text messages. When the app detects an act of vandalism is in progress based on pre-set criteria, the owner is immediately notified, and data is sent to the phone number designated during the app setup.

Although they wish to offer iPhone support in the future, Guardian Project, who has joined with Edward Snowden and the Freedom of the Press Foundation for this project, has only released the application for Android operating systems due to cost concerns. Guardian cites the availability of inexpensive Android devices as well as the ease of picking up Android based “burner” phones in their cost explanation. Guardian Project projects users of the application will pick up extra “burner” phones and will leave them in prominent places in their homes or other locations while carrying their primary phone with them for notifications.

Users can download the Haven app through the application’s official website. The app is in beta stage and open to suggestions as well as input from those experienced with security matters. The organizations involved with the creation of the high-tech app hope it will further security for individuals and will be used in a wide range of applications.

Snowden Haven App Photo
  Sebastian Willnow / AP Images