Cool Little App Co-Developed With Snowden Let's You Turn Android Phones Into Security Cameras, Get It Here
Haven was co-developed by Edward Snowden and the Guardian Project with the support of the Freedom of the Press Foundation. It is both an open source project that is available on GitHub and an app that can be downloaded on Google Play. It was originally released in 2017, but has been updated over the past few months. Anyone can download Haven, but it was particularly created with journalists, activists, and software developers in mind. One of its main purposes is to prevent an “evil maid” attack or an incident where the attacker is able to gain physical access to an unattended device. This kind app is especially important in light of the many recent human rights violations.
Haven uses features like a device’s microphone and camera to identify changes in its environment. It claims that it “can detect flashlights or changes in light, vibration, air pressure, and changes in power (unplugged, power cut)”. The device can be used to capture images or record audio or video. Haven will begin to record if it is triggered by sound or motion. Users can select their preferred camera on their device, set video monitoring length, and adjust camera, sound, and movement sensitivity. You can even set a timer for 30 seconds to allow time for you to exit your room before Haven begins monitoring.
Where does Haven store these recordings? Everything is stored locally on your device and is not saved to cloud storage. You do not need to wait until you return to your room to search through Haven’s log. Users can opt-in to receive SMS messages whenever Haven is triggered by a change in the environment or access the data through Tor. Users also have the ability to share anything from their log through a file sharing service like Google Drive or delete their log entirely.
Haven does have a few limitations. First, the app is not available on iOS devices. Users will need to purchase or find an old Android device to take advantage of this app. Second, users will need a SIM card to receive SMS notifications. This appears to be one of the most common complaints in the reviews on Google Play. Last, there is currently no way to access a live feed. You will only be able to review past images and recordings.
Despite its failings, Haven can still be a viable option for those who need to monitor their possessions and surroundings. You can download Haven from Google Play here or check Haven out on GitHub here.