“Cookies” are usually used by advertisers to track average Internet users, but the latest Edward Snowden leak reveals that the National Security Agency is using a similar method. The government agency is using “cookies” — a small tracking file that a website leaves behind on your computer — in order to pinpoint targets of government surveillance, according to a new report from the Washington Post.
The Post report is based on agency briefing slides leaked by Snowden, a former NSA contractor. The slides detail how companies’ use of “cookies” allows the government to undertake similar tracking. The slides suggest that the NSA uses “cookies” to help identify targets for hacking operations and subsequently allows the agency to follow the target.
The report is the latest based on documents obtained by Snowden, who fled the United States in June, reportedly with a trove of classified documents from the NSA. Reports in the Post and Britain’s Guardian newspaper in the ensuing months have detailed massive surveillance activity by the NSA on both U.S. and foreign targets.