Haven app by Edward Snowden uses the built-in sensors in your smartphone to monitor your surroundings to detect intruders. But do you want your smartphone acting Big Brother on you like that?
The Haven app by Edward Snowden monitors your immediate environment using your smartphone’s sensors. It works by scanning for sudden changes in your surroundings in order to alert you of intruders.
For example, it means that your phone’s camera will be constantly scanning for movement around, the microphone for sounds, and the ambient sensor for changes in lighting e.g. to tell the shadow of a person who stepped into the room.
It is an interesting concept. As a matter of fact, I imagine that one day, this app will have artificial intelligence (AI) built into it and then it will become a self-aware personal bodyguard. The possibilities are limitless.
Here is the full list of which sensors the haven app works with:
- Accelerometer: phone’s motion and vibration
- Camera: motion in the phone’s visible surroundings from front or back camera
- Microphone: noises in the environment
- Light: change in light from ambient light sensor
- Power: detect device being unplugged or power loss
An example of how Haven app can be put to use is for monitoring your home or office. Drop a smartphone with the app installed on your desk when stepping out and it becomes a watchdog in your absence. The app will send information it garners to your phone – pictures and other info of people who step into your office while you are away.
It isn’t a CCTV camera in a corner after all, and the average intruder will think nothing of a smartphone left on your desk. It is perfect as a super spy. Haven app will help you nail intruders.
Now, the technical part: the developers say that all event logs and captured media can be remotely accessed through a Tor Onion Service. This means that Haven must be configured as an Onion Service, and requires the device to also have Orbot: Tor for Android installed and running. So you need some knowledge of these things or someone with the knowledge to hep you set it all up.
Giving Up Privacy To catch Intruders
But in providing you with privacy and protection from intruders, Haven app also must intrude into your space. Having a smartphone that monitors everything going on around you at all times at that level can be unnerving and poses its own risks. What if someone hacks into your Haven account? They automatically have access to detailed, intimate information about your daily routine, conversations, etc.
The developers, The Guardian Project, say that Haven “only saves images and sound when triggered by motion or volume”. So, ideally, it is not taking pictures or listening to your conversations at all times. That is re-assuring, but we will need independent parties to confirm how it actually works. Thankfully, the app is open source, so that shouldn’t be too difficult to do.
But then, when you get a real, human bodyguard, you give up some privacy too.
Haven app by Edward Snowden sounds like a great idea for people who need a way to protect their personal spaces and possessions. It is no surprise that Edward Snowden is behind it. He knows what it is like to be hounded and has created the app to address real privacy concerns.
Haven is currently available in open beta and can be downloaded HERE.