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Snowden’s App Turns Phones Into Security Systems
Economy, Sci & Tech

Snowden’s App Turns Phones Into Security Systems

One of the world’s most well-known activists against digital surveillance has released what’s intended to be a cheap, mobile, and flexible version of a physical security system. The Freedom of the Press Foundation and its president, famed NSA leaker Edward Snowden, launched Haven, an app designed to transform any Android phone into a kind of all-purpose sensor for detecting intrusions.
Designed to be installed on a cheap Android burner, Haven uses the phone’s cameras, microphones and even accelerometers to monitor for any motion, sound or disturbance of the phone, Wired reported.
Leave the app running in your hotel room, for instance, and it can capture photos and audio of anyone entering the room while you are out, whether an innocent housekeeper or an intelligence agent trying to use his alone time with your laptop to install spyware on it.
It can then instantly send pictures and sound clips of those visitors to your primary phone, alerting you to the disturbance. The app even uses the phone’s light sensor to trigger an alert if the room goes dark, or an unexpected flashlight flickers.
“Imagine if you had a guard dog you could take with you to any hotel room and leave it in your room when you’re not there. And it’s actually smart, and it witnesses everything that happens and creates a record of it,” Snowden said in an encrypted phone call with wired.com from Moscow, where he has lived in exile since 2013. “The real idea is to establish that the physical spaces around you can be trusted.”
Since he became the director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation in early 2016, Snowden has led a small team of programmers and technologists working on security tools. The projects so far range from software that only allows secrets to be decrypted if a group of collaborators combine their secret keys, to a hardware modification for the iPhone that’s designed to detect if malware on the device is secretly transmitting a user’s data.

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