Tuesday, January 28, 2014

NSA using 'leaky apps' like Angry Birds, Google Maps to siphon user data

CNET - According to the latest documents from Edward Snowden, the NSA and its British counterpart see smartphones and the data being pulled from popular apps as a "golden nugget" of spy resources.

Relying on data scooped up from so-called leaky apps -- everything from Angry Birds and Google Maps to applications with photo- and location-sharing abilities like Facebook, Flickr, and Twitter -- the NSA and Britain's Government Communications Headquarter have been secretly collecting swaths of personal data about users' age, daily whereabouts, address books, and much more, according to documents provided by Edward Snowden and published in The New York Times, The Guardian, and ProPublica on Monday.

While the existence and extent of the US and British governments' mobile data collection have surfaced in previous reports, the latest documents shed new light on just how far-reaching that collection is and the specific apps the NSA and GCHQ have most found useful in what is referred to as "the mobile surge," an unofficial name for the initiative according to a 2011 British document that compares the operation to that of troop movements in Afghanistan and Iraq.   Read More