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How intelligence agencies intercept information emanating from smartphone apps
While the user is playing Angry Birds, spies might intercept his personal information - for example, location, age and gender, according to The New York Times, referring to some "secret British intelligence documents." NSA and its British equivalent of trying to exploit the side-effect of modern telecommunications, the journalists explain. "With each new generation of mobile phones more and more personal data splashed in the network where spyware can intercept this information", - says the article.
According to dozens of secret documents that have not been published before, one of the most valuable intelligence tool - the so-called "leaky applications." These programs are inadvertently divulge all sorts of information - for example, the identification code or the smartphone, where the user has visited on a particular day.
"According to the documents, which are provided by Edward Snowden, the NSA and Britain's Government Communications Center in 2007 we worked together, how to organize the collection and storage of data coming from dozens of applications for smartphones. During this period, departments share recipes on how to fix the location data the plans, when a user comes to Google Maps, as well as the methods of collection of address books, buddy lists, phone call logs and geographic data included in the photo, at a time when a person puts a post h Erez mobile version of "Facebook", Flickr, LinkedIn, "Twitter" and other Internet services ", - says the article. By the material attached a document dated 2010.
These secret documents that are shared with each other The New York Times, The Guardian and ProPublica, contain much more detail than earlier publications in the press. A British document from the 2011 efforts of the security services are called element "mobile stuffing" (the term refers to the strategy of "surge" - increasing the military contingent, who had previously used the US in Iraq and Afghanistan). "The enthusiasm of certain NSA analyst felt in enthusiastic title" Golden Nugget ", which was one of the slides for a top-secret report from 2010, where the" iPhone "and phones based on Android called very rich in resources," - the authors write.
It is unclear whether such large scale data collection and what are its specific details, emphasizes the publication. According to the documents, the NSA and the Government Communications Center regularly receive information from some applications, especially those that first appeared on smartphones. "Documents show that agencies have similar opportunities and working with some of the newer apps, including Angry Birds, but the text does not say directly whether the spies used these opportunities in practice.", - says the article. At the same time, the British document from 2012 states that applications can be installed on "political sympathies" and sexual orientation of the user.
President Obama recently announced new restrictions, whose purpose - to protect ordinary Americans and foreigners from government surveillance. "But he did not touch the information that intelligence obtained from" leaky apps "and other features of smartphones", - underline the journalists.
However, Obama has expressed concern that the advertising agencies gather information about the people in order to send targeted advertising on mobile phones. "But he did not even hinted that American spies regularly intercept this information in classified documents is nothing to indicate that the company cooperated with intelligence agencies to provide this information, this topic is not affected.", - says the article.
The documents also do not mention how many users could affect the collection of information, if any of them American citizens, and how often analysts familiar with the personal data, given that a lot of information is collected automatically.
The paper describes several documents.
"Two top-secret chart, prepared by the British Office in 2012 show a flow of incoming information, the Americans and the British" removed as scum "with smartphone traffic. Flows are classified as" traditional telephony "(metadata) and the other marked" social applications " . "digital mapping", "communication http ?, e-mail, MMS and traffic associated with mobile applications including," - said in an article inserted Analysts questions chart type: "Where was my object, when they do that?" and "Where guides Xia my object? ".
In 2007, the NSA has increased the budget for this program nearly quadrupled (from 204 million to 767 million dollars), according to the report of the Canadian intelligence.
Judge Philippe Langlois says, referring to smartphones, "When you wear these devices in their pockets and more and more you use them, you are in some way transforms the world into the sensor intelligence".
The authors note: Smart phones are phones and computers at the same time, so collect information through them very easily. According to one of the secret documents, when upgrading software Android user sends more than 500 rows of data about the history and use of the phone.
Advertising agencies, using this data, make detailed user profiles can be set, for example, whether a person is rich and there is also his children. In turn, the NSA and the Center of Government Communications catch from these data the new information and compare it with the lists of the objects of surveillance.
Google Maps in some places shows the user's location to within a few yards, the newspaper said. "This actually means that anyone who uses Google Maps on your smartphone, working in support of the Government Communications Headquarters system", - stated in the report of the agency in 2008.
The paper noted that different advertising campaigns - including Burstly and Google - user profiles differ in structure. "Most profiles contain a character string that identifies the phone, as well as basic data about the user, including age, gender, location" - the newspaper writes.
According to the documents, the American Millennial Media creates a much more candid profiles. Meanwhile, the company reported that in 2011 began working with Rovio to include advertising services in the Angry Birds app. If you believe the document in the Millennial profiles contain a few "optional" category: for example, ethnicity, marital status and sexual orientation.
One of the domes article called "indiscriminate piles." Intelligence agencies say they sometimes succeed when they start with something similar to the traditional "hook" to the investigation. For example, the collection of data from smartphones helped arrest the killers of the cartel involved in the killing of a US consulate in Mexico, convey journalists.
But the volume of accumulated data is very large, and, according to the documents, the secret services sometimes do not know what to do with all this information. In 2009, for the analysis of data from mobile phones, the NSA collected in just one month, it took 120 computers. At the same time revealed 8615650 "players" (probably means users that are interesting special services), the article says.