NSA uses smartphone apps to spy on all us

Little is known about the scope and scale of the program, but data could be harvested from apps.

Google's mapping service.  One of the ways the NSA spys on us.

Google’s mapping service. One of the ways the NSA spys on us.

Documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden suggest that spy agencies have a powerful ally in the apps installed on smartphones across the globe.

The documents, published by The New York Times, the Guardian, and ProPublica, suggest that the mapping, gaming, and social networking apps available on smartphones can feed America’s National Security Agency and Britain’s GCHQ spy agency with huge amounts of personal data.

Little is known about the scope and scale of the program, but all three publications outlined how data could be harvested from apps such as the Angry Birds game franchise or Google’s popular mapping service.

The NSA said Monday it focused on “valid foreign intelligence targets.” GCHQ did not immediately return an email seeking comment.

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2 Responses to "NSA uses smartphone apps to spy on all us"

  1. Pondering_It_All  January 27, 2014 at 6:02 pm

    Well, duh: If you publish your GPS location so all your friends can track your current whereabouts, why couldn’t anybody track it as well? Those “friend location” TV ads set off an alarm for me the first time I saw one. If somebody wants to know where I am, they can ask me. And unless they have a good reason, I’m not going to tell them. I bet stalkers and crazy ex’s love that “feature”.

  2. woody188  January 28, 2014 at 7:54 am

    My wife and I share GPS information via the Google+ Locations app. But the NSA doesn’t need your app information, it just makes it easier for them. They can get a pretty good idea of where by tracking the towers your cell phone uses. They don’t need you to enable the GPS. This data is logged as part of the meta data program, so they also don’t believe they need a warrant.

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