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Report: NSA can access most smartphone data

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Posted September 9, 2013
Report: NSA can access most smartphone data

Report: NSA can access most smartphone data
In this picture taken Sept. 7, 2013, a woman protests with a selfmade surveillance camera on her head during the demonstration ‘in Berlin, Germany. German news weekly Der Spiegel reports Sunday Sept. 8, 2013 that the U.S. National Security Agency can access users’ data on all major smartphones. The magazine cites internal documents from the NSA and its British counterpart GCHQ in which the agencies describe setting up dedicated teams to crack protective measures on iPhones, BlackBerry and Android devices. This data includes contacts, call lists, SMS traffic, notes and location data. (AP Photo/dpa,Rainer Jensen)

The U.S. National Security Agency is able to crack protective measures on iPhones, BlackBerry and Android devices, giving it access to users’ data on all major smartphones, according to a report Sunday in German news weekly Der Spiegel.

The magazine cited internal documents from the NSA and its British counterpart GCHQ in which the agencies describe setting up dedicated teams for each type of phone as part of their effort to gather intelligence on potential threats such as terrorists.

The data obtained this way includes contacts, call lists, SMS traffic, notes and location information, Der Spiegel reported. The documents don’t indicate that the NSA is conducting mass surveillance of phone users but rather that these techniques are used to eavesdrop on specific individuals, the magazine said.

The article doesn’t explain how the magazine obtained the documents, which are described as “secret.” But one of its authors is Laura Poitras, an American filmmaker with close contacts to NSA leaker Edward Snowden who has published several articles about the NSA in Der Spiegel in recent weeks.

The documents outline how, starting in May 2009, intelligence agents were unable to access some information on BlackBerry phones for about a year after the Canadian manufacturer began using a new method to compress the data. After GCHQ cracked that problem, too, analysts celebrated their achievement with the word “Champagne,” Der Spiegel reported.

Read more at: Phys.org

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