Edward Snowden wasn’t always a controversial figure, but he’s been in the public eye for so long that many have a hard time actually remembering that fact. For those who know the name but can’t place the man, Snowden was a former CIA employee who, in 2013, leaked classified information from the NSA without authorization. The information that he published revealed a wide range of global spying programs, many of which were being run by the NSA and the Five Eyes Intelligence Alliance. But what really made this subject catch fire was the fact that the programs were not lone government operations — most were executed in partnership with telecommunications companies around the globe, and even European governments as well.
Regardless of how you feel about his actions, it’s clear that Snowden has always believed strongly in a person’s right to privacy. Recently, he has taken another bold step toward creating a more secure digital world with the release of a brand new app for Android devices. When installed, it lets you essentially turn the tables on someone who may be spying on you — and privacy advocates all over the world are very, very excited about it.
Edward Snowden’s New Android App: Breaking It Down
Edward Snowden’s new app, dubbed “Haven” and designed for the Android mobile operating system, intends to turn any Android device into a “motion, sound, vibration and light detector.” The developers, along with Snowden himself, say that this can help people detect unexpected guests and unwanted intruders on a mass scale.
The solution was built to be as lightweight as possible, making it ideal for “burner” phones or other cheap devices that can be kept in a room and dedicated entirely to the larger goal of counter surveillance. Thanks to the fact that people tend to upgrade their smartphones at least every two years (and many upgrade even more often than that), a lot of folks do tend to have old phones lying around in drawers, sitting unused. Now, those older devices can be instantly repurposed to help make sure that your private conversations and intimate moments stay that way for as long as possible.
Any device running the app can be kept literally anywhere, with one example being a hotel room. If you’re staying in a hotel and are about to head out for the day, you can simply leave the older device behind. If any unwanted activity is detected — like motion indicating that someone has entered the room while you’re gone to steal something — the app would notify the user’s primary phone that something is amiss. This then puts them in the best possible position to do something about it as quickly as they can.
Snowden has said that the app itself was built for investigative journalists, human rights defenders and people who may be at risk of what he calls “forced disappearance.” “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,” said Snowden.
Thanks to the app, the burner phone or any other type of secondary device can also be kept in a way that allows it to take pictures of an intruder. So even if someone thought that they were going to be able to get into an area, plant spying equipment and get out undetected, Edward Snowden certainly has a thing or two to say about that.
Haven was developed by The Freedom of the Press Foundation, in association with The Guardian Project. The latter organization has already made a name for itself in terms of building privacy-related applications, and this is just another in a long line to add to that particular list.
Haven is currently still in its beta development phase, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it isn’t ready for prime time. Provided that you have a mobile phone or other device running any recent version of the Android mobile operating system, it can be downloaded from the Google Play Store right away for use immediately.