NSA Could Be Watching You Play Angry Birds

Leaked documents reveal the spy agency scoops up vast amounts of data through smartphone apps

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President Barack Obama’s speech earlier this month outlined modest new limitations on the National Security Agency’s use of data it harvests from Americans’ phone calls, but he didn’t address what turns out to be one of the agency’s biggest sources of information: smartphone apps.

Smartphone applications like Google Maps, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and even games like  Angry Birds provide intelligence agencies with riches of data, including location tracking, address books, buddy lists and phone logs, according to documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and provided to the Guardian, the New York Times ProPublica.

“They are gathered in bulk, and are currently our single largest type of events,” says one 2010 document from the NSA’s British counterpart, the G.C.H.Q., regarding the “cookies” that computers, including mobile devices, pick up from websites as they browse the Internet.

Google Maps is a particularly rich seam for data miners in British and U.S. intelligence, the documents say.

“It effectively means that anyone using Google Maps on a smartphone is working in support of a G.C.H.Q. system,” says a secret 2008 document from the British agency.

According to a classified Canadian analysis written around 2007 cited by the New York Times, the NSA quadrupled the program’s budget that year, from $204 million to $767 million.

“N.S.A. does not profile everyday Americans as it carries out its foreign intelligence mission,” the agency said in a written response to the Times. “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 UK’s G.C.H.Q. declined to comment in specifics but said all its activities comply with British law.”

[NYT]

4 comments
raidx259
raidx259

Watching people play angry birds..? They don't have something better to spy on?



NZAircraftFan
NZAircraftFan

I honestly don't really care if the NSA spies on me I am doing nothing illegal and nothing that people can't see on twitter or on foursquare  . They can also watch me playing angry birds if they really want to it really doesn't worry one little bit . If want you total privacy live in a cave and don't talk to anyone. A secret is only a secret if you don't tell anyone

TAHKICT
TAHKICT

LOL, just deleted 6 apps from my Q10.

elon
elon

@NZAircraftFan Oh i see yor point.  As long as it's only happening to muslims, then who cares?, since you're not a muslim.  You would have fit right in, in Germany 1933.   You could have told people how it's not your problem, since they're only doing it to jews.