How You Can Turn Your Android Phone Into a Surveillance System

It is now possible to turn your Android handheld phone into a fully useful surveillance system. This is possible with the help of an app that is being backed by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Edward Snowden is an American computer professional, former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) employee, and former contractor for the United States government who copied and leaked classified information from the National Security Agency (NSA) in 2013 without authorization. His disclosures revealed numerous global surveillance programs, many run by the NSA and the Five Eyes Intelligence Alliance with the cooperation of telecommunication companies and European governments.

The new app called Haven, which is backed by Snowden, also helps guard against computer hijackings.

According to sources, Haven is an open source app that will run on any Android phone, particularly inexpensive and older devices. It operates like a surveillance system, using the device’s camera, audio recording capability and even accelerometer to detect movement and notify a user. The idea is that, even with the best encryption in the world, a device is vulnerability to physical tampering by a person present near the device. The app was developed to offer eyes and ears to prevent tampering, or at least increase awareness, of whether a device has been tampered with.

For example, if you set up a burner Android device in a hotel safe alongside your laptop. Haven could then be set to broadcast any audio or movement, basically if anyone opened the safe it will snap a photo, record audio and detect motion. Alerts can be sent via SMS, Signal or to a Tor-based website, according to media reports.

The app has been reviewed by some security experts who did admit that it had some shortcomings, it needed constant access to the internet and could sometimes bring up false positives but it provided freedom from surveillance for those who seek it. Apart from providing security to hardware it also provides safety to other features of the device.

“Haven can also be used as a cheap home or office security system to detect break-ins or vandalism while you’re away, positioning the phone to send you photographs when someone walks within range. Or you can use it to monitor for wildlife in rural areas, or to capture evidence of human rights violations and disappearances,” one expert who tested the app wrote.

Haven is now available and can be downloaded on Android devices via the Google Play Store and F-Droid app store.