Edward Snowden's Haven App Converts Android Phones Into Personal Security Systems

Haven App

NSA whisteblower Edward Snowden has built a security app for Android phones that is mostly geared towards investigative journalists, human rights defenders, and people at risk of being kidnapped or even killed, though anyone with a mind towards security can use it. The app is called Haven, and it leverages the cameras, microphone, and various sensors on a phone to become a portable surveillance device.

"Haven is for people who need a way to protect their personal spaces and possessions without compromising their own privacy. It is an Android application that leverages on-device sensors to provide monitoring and protection of physical spaces. Haven turns any Android phone into a motion, sound, vibration and light detector, watching for unexpected guests and unwanted intruders," Haven's description reads.

We suppose being on the lam, as Snowden is, can provide sufficient motivation to develop an app like Haven. But what about the average person? Snowden, along with collaborators Freedom of the Press Foundation and Guardian Project, point to other use case scenarios. If you have ever been on a business trip or otherwise stayed in a hotel, you might have felt a little nervous leaving your laptop unattended when you leave the room. That's where Haven comes into play. By placing your spare Android handset with Haven installed on top of your laptop, it will detect if and when someone tampers with it.

Snowden's app does this by detecting motion and changes in light. Let's say you keep a diary tucked away in a drawer at home. By placing a phone with Haven installed on top of the diary, it will detect changes in light when the drawer is opened, and alert your primary phone of the intrusion. It will even record audio and snap a photo in hopes of identifying the culprit.

Haven Screenshots
Image Source: Guardian Project

"Haven only saves images and sound when triggered by motion or volume, and stores everything locally on the device. You can position the device’s camera to capture visible motion, or set your phone somewhere discreet to just listen for noises. Get secure notifications of intrusion events instantly and access the logs remotely or anytime later," Guardian Project explains.

In that regard, Haven's widens significantly, extending from journalists whose lives might be at risk, to teenagers who don't want their parents snooping on them. Or perhaps more practically, home users might find interest in Haven as an alternative to a pricey surveillance system.

Haven is only available for Android at the moment, though you can configure it to send alerts to an iPhone.

Thumbnail and Top Image Source: YouTube via Freedom of the Press