As a tech enthusiast with the brains and taste to prefer Android over the other options, you’re probably someone who also appreciates the need for privacy and security. You may even keep a spare “burner” phone for when you travel to some less-than-confidence-inspiring situations like hacker conferences or the Winter Olympics. But what if you needed something even more powerful to protect data and even physical objects of monumental importance?
A new open source project from the Guardian Project and the Freedom of the Press Foundation may be what you’re looking for, an app that turns your smartphone into a security system, known as Haven. Even more intriguing, this app is being pitched as a product of the mind of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. But is it a real privacy tool, or more like an oversensitive car alarm?
According to reports, Haven uses the various sensors on your phone, such as its cameras, microphones, and accelerometer, to detect motion, sounds, light changes, and anything else that it picks up in the physical world. When something gets the app’s attention, it sends encrypted alerts to the owner.
So is Haven for you? Well, let’s say that you find yourself on a mission, upon which the fate of the world rests. The key part of your mission it to pass highly sensitive weapons information to your designated contact, all of which is stored on a laptop. For the sake of visuals, let’s make it a 1990s Gateway laptop with the cow patterns on it. You’re going to meet your contact at a hotel in some Eastern European country that no one’s ever heard of, like, say, Sokovia. You check in, under an assumed name, you go to your room, laptop pressed against your chest, and you wait.
But you’re early. Your contact won’t be there for