Since 2013, former United States intelligence contractor Edward Snowden has remained in Russia after the country granted the American expat asylum as he fled charges of espionage. This special status was seemingly on rocky grounds following Donald Trump’s inauguration earlier this year, but Snowden’s asylum was extended through at least 2020. Since then, the man who famously leaked classified information about the NSA’s top secret digital surveillance programs to the public has been hard at work avoiding smartphone use while developing ways to improve their security for others.
Enter Haven, a new app Snowden developed after being inspired by human rights advocate Jacqueline Moudeina when the two met in early 2017. According to The Verge, the American expat told Moudeina he was working on an application that would “turn a mobile device into a kind of motion sensor in order to notify you when your devices are being tampered with.” It wouldn’t prevent said hacking, per se, but it would at least notify the device’s owner with documented evidence of the act.
On Friday, the Freedom of the Press Foundation announced Haven with a short YouTube video featuring Snowden:
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… By combining the array of sensors found in any smartphone, with the world’s most secure communications technologies, like Signal and Tor, Haven prevents the worst kind of people from silencing citizens without getting caught in the act.
To appropriately use Haven, however, one must install it “on a cheap burner Android device” instead of their own. Why? To add a further layer of security to the process, as well as convenience, for the burner phone must be placed on the laptop in order to ensure Haven’s success. When the app-installed phone “detects motion, light, or movement,” it will then notify you of the possible tampering via the end-to-end encrypted communications app Signal.
(Via The Verge)