New Snowden Revelation: NSA, GCHQ Look Through Apps To Find Personal Data

According to reporting from The New
York Times
, the NSA and the British GCHQ have been gathering
information on individuals from smartphone apps.

The New York Times

The N.S.A. and Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters
were working together on how to collect and store data from dozens
of smartphone apps by 2007, according to the documents, provided by
Edward J. Snowden, the former N.S.A. contractor. Since then, the
agencies have traded recipes for grabbing location and planning
data when a target uses Google Maps, and for vacuuming up address
books, buddy lists, phone logs and the geographic data embedded in
photos when someone sends a post to the mobile versions of
Facebook, Flickr, LinkedIn, Twitter and other services.

The eavesdroppers’ pursuit of mobile networks has been outlined
in earlier reports, but the secret documents, shared by The New
York Times, The Guardian and ProPublica, offer far more details of
their ambitions for smartphones and the apps that run on them. The
efforts were part of an initiative called “the mobile surge,”
according to a 2011 British document, an analogy to the troop
surges in Iraq and Afghanistan. One N.S.A. analyst’s enthusiasm was
evident in the breathless title — “Golden Nugget!” — given to one
slide for a top-secret 2010 talk describing iPhones and Android
phones as rich resources, one document notes.

The New York Times mentions one document that
highlights the sort of information spy agencies can obtain through
examining apps:

A secret 2012 British intelligence document says that spies can
scrub smartphone apps that contain details like a user’s “political
alignment” and sexual orientation.

More from on the NSA here.

from Hit & Run

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