To get the most out of the new open-source Android app that Edward Snowden just released, you’ll need a burner phone, a strong distrust of the world and a stronger willingness to act on it.
Snowden, for obvious reasons, has all three prerequisites covered. Which explains why, in conjunction with the Freedom of the Press Foundation, he decided to design Haven.
Specifically made for “people who need a way to protect their personal spaces and possessions without compromising their own privacy,” Haven harnesses a smartphone’s on-device sensors (cameras microphone, motion detector, light detector) to “provide monitoring and protection of physical spaces.”
Basically, Snowden and the FOPF envision users leaving Haven running on a spare phone next to their laptop (say, in a hotel room or office). In the event any unwanted visitors start snooping around, Haven collects the info it can and alerts the user’s primary phone.
“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 told WIRED from Moscow. “The real idea is to establish that the physical spaces around you can be trusted.”
A bit much? Probably. A good way to catch the office lunch thief? We’re willing to give it a shot.
Here’s the Snowman himself to explain why you might want to use Haven to pull off the modernized and far more paranoid version of George Costanza’s left-behind-briefcase trick.