Controversial safety app Citizen gets into disaster prep

The controversial safety app Citizen has announced it is branching out into a new personal safety area with the acquisition of harbor. Harbor is an app that allows individuals to prepare for disasters by using risk management tools to formulate preparedness plans in the event of, say, an earthquake or wildfire.

Citizen said it will use harbor to “expand the product offerings of Citizen” without specifying whether harbor will remain a separate app or be rolled into the main Citizen app. The acquisition of harbor comes just fifteen months after the app originally launched in October 2020.

While the acquisition of harbor does seem a natural fit for Citizen, it may also go some way to dampening the wholly negative image some have of Citizen. Currently, Citizen is viewed by many as an app that encourages mass surveillance by the public and a threat to vulnerable communities. The harbor app, on the other hand, doesn’t encourage surveilling others, instead helping people prepare for and navigate natural disasters.

Announcing the acquisition of harbor, Citizen CEO Andrew Frame said, “Transforming public safety is a massive undertaking and requires an incredible team and set of products to accelerate our mission globally. We’re excited with this acquisition of harbor, along with their technology, products and team. This is a great combination of forces.” Citizen did not disclose how much it paid for harbor.

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