Nation & World News

NYT: NSA Can Exploit Mobile Apps For Information

By Eyder Peralta on January 27th, 2014

The National Security Agency, along with its British counterpart, the GCHQ, can exploit sometimes very personal data that leaks from popular phone apps.

That’s according to The New York Times, which is basing its reporting on secret British documents obtained by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

According to the Times, the NSA and GCHQ 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.”

Not only that but the agencies can also scoop up data as it moves across the stream. When one person updated the Android software on their phone, for example, the agencies captured “nearly 500 lines of data about the phone’s history and use onto the network.”

As Times puts it, this kind of data is normally used by mobile ad companies to create detailed profiles of phone users. From this data, the ad companies are able to discern where people travel, “what apps and websites they open” and might be able to “triangulate web shopping data and browsing history to guess whether someone is wealthy or has children, for example.”

It’s important to note that the Times piece talks about capabilities, not necessarily what the NSA and GCHQ are doing. While it’s clear the spy agencies are scooping up data, it’s unclear the extent or how much of it is coming from Americans.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

This entry was posted in News from NPR. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.

 

More Stories in News from NPR

Pope Francis opens the morning session of a two-week synod on family issues at the Vatican, on Saturday.

Vatican Bishops Scrap Opening To Gays, Divorced Members

Earlier this week an interim summary of the synod on family issues included conciliatory language on gays and on the taking of holy communion for divorced church members.


An artist's rendering of the flyby with Mars orbiters taking cover. Note that the image says "spacecraft not to scale."

Mars Probes Give Scientists Box Seats For Rare Comet Flyby

A “mountain-sized” comet known as Siding Spring will pass very close to the red planet, where orbiters from the U.S., Europe and India, hope to get close – but not too close — to the action.


Pro-democracy protesters set up new barricades after riot police retreated from a main road at Mong Kok shopping district in Hong Kong early Saturday.

Hong Kong Activists Clash With Police, Retake Protest Site

Pro-democracy protesters have replaced barricades in the congested Mong Kong district of the city hours after authorities dismantled the obstacles.


People stand on the island's south shore to feel the winds from approaching Hurricane Gonzalo, in Astwood Park, Bermuda on Friday. The storm has knocked out power to half of the residents of the British island territory.

Hurricane Gonzalo Hits Bermuda; Ana To Skirt Past Hawaii

In the British island territory, Gonzalo has wiped out power to roughly half of the island’s 70,000 inhabitants.


The Supreme Court early Saturday declined to block a Texas Voter ID law for the November election.

Supreme Court Lets Texas Enforce Voter ID Law For Nov. Election

With three justices dissenting, the high court’s ruling effectively blocks a lower federal court decision declaring the law restrictive and unconstitutional.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments