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Leaky Mobile Apps Are Providing Spy Agencies With Your Information

So you think that your information in your mobile device is safe since you only download apps from official sources? This may not be the case as U.S. and British intelligence agencies gather information about an individual from Angry Birds and other smartphone apps that leak user information.

golden nugget

New information gathered from previously undisclosed classified documents show that leaky apps provide a number of useful information such as the smartphone identification code as well as the location of the user.

The classified documents which were provided by Edward Snowden show that the NSA and Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters cooperated as early as 2007 to figure out how to extract information from smartphone apps. Both agencies have since then traded their knowledge on procedures on how to get data from apps such as Google Maps, Facebook, Flickr, LinkedIn, Twitter and others.

The New York Times made the report this Monday. Previously it was known from previous reports that spy agencies were eavesdropping on smartphone apps but the details are not known until now.

One British document published in 2011 calls the initiative as “mobile surge”. An NSA analyst even gave one slide the title of “Golden Nugget: referring to the vast data that could be gathered from Android and iOS devices.

While the extent of the data collection is not known the documents show that NSA and British agency has been obtaining information from mobile apps.

The NSA responded to questions about this program by saying “N.S.A. does not profile everyday Americans as it carries out its foreign intelligence mission. Because some data of U.S. persons may at times be incidentally collected in N.S.A.’s lawful foreign intelligence mission, privacy protections for U.S. persons exist across the entire process.”

The British spy agency declined to comment on the issue only saying that it works within the confines of British law.

via nytimes