A new surveillance app that guards your phone against computer hijacking is now available for download. The app is backed by former NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and is developed to run on any Android phone. The application is called Haven. It’s an open source app that uses the phone’s camera, accelerometer, and audio recording capabilities to detect movement and send a notification to the owner.
The application is actually very basic and is based on a very simple premise. Although encryption solutions are highly advanced these days, they do very little to safeguard your phone from in-person and physical tampering. Haven, however, can do that. The software was developed by Snowden, The Guardian Project and Freedom of the Press.
So, how does the app work? Let’s say for example you’ve checked into a hotel and you decide to put your phone away in a safe somewhere in your room. To protect it from any physical tampering, you could easily set Haven to broadcast any sound or movement. For example, if someone was to open the safe, the phone will detect the motion, and send an alert via SMS to a Tor-based website.
But Haven has its issues. Developers have admitted that there are a few shortcomings that users need to be aware of. For example, maintaining the app connected to the internet for long periods is problematic. In addition to this, issues of false positives and battery drain could affect its efficiency and accuracy.
However, it’s still a simple solution that does just enough. According to Micah Lee, a member of the Freedom of the Press, Haven can also be used as an affordable office or home security system. It can easily detect break-ins or incidents of vandalism and immediately send you an alert for further action. What makes it interesting is that the phone can be set to take photos of intruders when they are within range. The Freedom of The Press also believes that the app can be used to capture human rights violations in real time.
Interested users can download Haven from Google Play Store and start using it free of charge. The support of Edward Snowden is also interesting. The former NSA data analyst was previously involved in the development of an iPhone case that can detect data transmission.
Snowden remains exiled in Russia and is one of the most notable advocates for privacy rights in the world. The infamous NSA whistleblower is on record advising people who care about privacy to stop using Dropbox, Facebook, and Google.
Nonetheless, most privacy software solutions are largely developed to safeguard against remote phone access or hacking. However, Haven is doing the opposite. In-person phone tampering is a common problem that many people face. It doesn’t even have to involve a hacker or some government sanctioned spy. It could be a co-worker who is snooping on your phone or even a friend. Haven allows you to detect and prevent this tampering immediately.