Edward Snowden Introduces Haven, His Smartphone App That Will Keep Your Laptop and Secrets Safe

Edward Snowden responded to MSNBC's Joe Scarborough on Twitter after the latter criticized his approach to national security as "reckless." The Guardian via Getty Images

Edward Snowden, a former National Security Agency contractor who was hailed as a whistleblower or traitor, depending on whom you ask, after exposing U.S. government surveillance programs, has created a smartphone app that claims to give the public better means to protect their personal privacy. Snowden revealed his new app, called Haven, in a video message Friday.

The new app will reportedly shield laptops from unwanted tampering by using sensors on Android phones to detect changes in a room that may be evidence of interference or tapping, Phys Org reported. The sensors include the camera, microphone and the gyroscope and accelerometers, tools on the phone used to determine the device's orientation, The BBC reported.

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According to a press release introducing the app, Haven is described as a "personal security system." It is designed for individuals most at risk for security breaches and being spied on such as "a journalist working in a hostile foreign country" who may be concerned about their computer being tampered with while they are away, the press release reported.

The app alerts users should anyone enter their room and attempt to tamper with their personal devices, such as a laptop, while they were away. If this occurs, Haven will send encrypted alerts to users' smartphones. The app is specifically designed so that third parties cannot access information unless the user purposely enables this, a step that further heightens users' security.

The software was developed in collaboration with the Freedom of Press Foundation, a non profit founded in 2012, and the Guardian project, a project that creature secure apps for mobile phones.

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Snowden first entered the public eye in 2013 when he exposed government surveillance tactics, telling several journalists that the U.S. government was tapping fiber optic cables and intercepting phone calls in a secret program called Prism, The Guardian reported. Snowden was eventually charged with two counts of violating the Espionage Act of 1917 and theft of government property. To avoid arrest and persecution, Snowden flew to Russia where he remains to this day, living in exile.

The Haven app was met with criticism, mostly based on Snowden's controversial background. Some suggested that it would be foolish to trust someone who freely gave away government secrets. The BBC reported.