Monday, January 27, 2014

Your Smart Phone Apps May Be Ratting You Out

Lots of people have smartphones and those that do usually load at least some of the thousands of free or cheap apps that can run on them.   Did you ever think that those fun apps might just be ratting you out to government spy agencies?

According to a breaking story just released by The New York Times, that is what's happening.

When a smartphone user opens Angry Birds, the popular game application, and starts slinging birds at chortling green pigs, spy agencies have plotted how to lurk in the background to snatch data revealing the player’s location, age, sex and other personal information, according to secret British intelligence documents.
In their globe-spanning surveillance for terrorism suspects and other targets, the National Security Agency and its British counterpart have been trying to exploit a basic byproduct of modern telecommunications: With each new generation of mobile phone technology, ever greater amounts of personal data pour onto networks where spies can pick it up.
According to dozens of previously undisclosed classified documents, among the most valuable of those unintended intelligence tools are so-called leaky apps that spew everything from users’ smartphone identification codes to where they have been that day.

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.
And who do we have to thank for this revelation?  You guessed it, Edward Snowden.  Thanks for the heads up, Ed.  And, Ed, unless those bastards give you complete and ironclad amnesty, don't even think about going back.

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