Snowden's new app protects you from kidnappers. Or maids

Haven, an app backed by Edward Snowden, turns an Android device into something like a baby monitor on steroids, or the world's most paranoid nanny-cam.

Joan E. Solsman Former Senior Reporter
Joan E. Solsman was CNET's senior media reporter, covering the intersection of entertainment and technology. She's reported from locations spanning from Disneyland to Serbian refugee camps, and she previously wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal. She bikes to get almost everywhere and has been doored only once.
Expertise Streaming video, film, television and music; virtual, augmented and mixed reality; deep fakes and synthetic media; content moderation and misinformation online Credentials
  • Three Folio Eddie award wins: 2018 science & technology writing (Cartoon bunnies are hacking your brain), 2021 analysis (Deepfakes' election threat isn't what you'd think) and 2022 culture article (Apple's CODA Takes You Into an Inner World of Sign)
Joan E. Solsman
A photo of Edward Snowden

Edward Snowden, the whistleblower who revealed National Security Agency surveillance, launched a security app Friday. 

Getty Images

Finally, an app to protect you from "evil maid attacks."

Edward Snowden , the whistleblower who exposed National Security Agency spying on American phones , has a new Android app to protect your personal security too. It's designed to be a "'safe room' in your pocket, or way to defeat 'evil maid' attacks," according to its designers. 

Haven, an app made by Freedom of the Press Foundation (Snowden is president and a board member of the group) and the Guardian Project, turns any Android phone into a "motion, sound, vibration and light detector, watching for unexpected guests and unwanted intruders." 

The app works by saving images and sound when a motion or noise triggers it to turn on, essentially. Then it stores everything it captures on the device. It will also send secure notifications of intrusions as soon as they occur, and it allows you to access logs remotely anytime.

"We designed Haven for investigative journalists, human rights defenders, and people at risk of forced disappearance," the makers said on the app's Github listing. "Haven prevents the worst kind of people from silencing citizens without getting caught in the act."