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Snowden created an app that protects you from attacks, turns smartphones into security systems

 

Edward Snowden is best known for revealing the spy programs of the US’s National Security Agency, but his next project is intended to make citizens feel more secure.

It’s an app, called Haven, that’s designed to turn Android phones into all-in-one anti-spy systems.

“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,” Snowden told Wired in an interview published Friday. “And it’s actually smart, and it witnesses everything that happens and creates a record of it.”

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The idea is simple: You install the app on a cheap “burner” phone — one that can be thrown away — and then set up the phone in a place you want to monitor.

Perhaps you’re in a hotel room in Hong Kong, worried that a world power is attempting to spy on your actions. What to do? Install Haven on an otherwise empty, inexpensive Android smartphone.

You can program it to start recording or taking photos if someone enters your room. Those recordings can then be sent securely to your personal phone, perhaps through an encrypted-communication tool like Signal.

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Haven uses encrypted services like Signal and Tor that let users retain full control of the communication.

In so many words, the app is intended to turn a smartphone into a personal security system.

“We designed Haven as a tool for investigative journalists, human-rights defenders, and people at risk,” Snowden says in a video introducing the app.

He added: “Haven makes it harder to silence citizens — raids, searches, arrests — without getting caught in the act.”

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