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Turns Your Android Phone Into A Surveillance System


1 Jun 2013
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Smartphones contain a lot of our private information, constantly at risk from hackers. At the same time, smartphones also possess all the basic building blocks of a surveillance system. Can you do the math here?

Don't worry, Edward Snowden already has us covered.

The ex-NSA whistleblower, who blew the lid on PRISM -- America's most advanced digital surveillance program -- has teamed up with The Guardian Project and Freedom Of The Press to come up with Haven, a free Android app that turns any Android phone into a smart, secure surveillance system.

Even the best encryption in the world can be broken, which means our digital devices are always vulnerable to the bad guys. As an open source app that runs on any Android phone, Haven operates as a always-on surveillance system to guard your phone all the time.

Designed to be installed on a cheap Android burner, Haven uses the phone's cameras, microphones and even accelerometers to monitor for any motion, sound or disturbance of the phone. Leave the app running in your hotel room, for instance, and it can capture photos and audio of anyone entering the room while you're out, whether an innocent housekeeper or an intelligence agent trying to use his alone time with your laptop to install spyware on it. It can then instantly send pictures and sound clips of those visitors to your primary phone, alerting you to the disturbance. The app even uses the phone's light sensor to trigger an alert if the room goes dark, or an unexpected flashlight flickers.

Privacy First

But Haven takes some serious measures to prevent its surveillance mechanisms from being turned against a phone's owner. It integrates the encrypted messaging app Signal, so that every alert, photo, and audio clip it sends to the user is end-to-end encrypted. As another safeguard, users can also configure Haven to work with the Android app Orbot, which has an option to turn your phone into a so-called
Tor Onion Service

—essentially, a server on the darknet. That means the Haven phone's event log can be accessed remotely from your desktop or another phone, but only over Tor's near-untraceable connection. In theory, that means no eavesdropper can break in to access those audio and photo snapshots of your sensitive spaces.

Snowden's New App Turns Your Phone Into a Home Security System
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