Turns out they were getting quite a bit of information about you in some of the most interesting ways! When a smartphone user opens an app – like, oh I don’t know, Words with Friends or Angry Birds…the NSA could be skulking in the background to snatch data revealing the player’s location, age, sex and other personal information. So much for a little bit of casual fun by slinging birds at chortling green pigs! ;-)
The National Security Agency (NSA) and its British counterpart have been trying to exploit a basic byproduct of modern telecommunications: With each new generation of mobile phone technology, ever greater amounts of personal data pour onto networks where spies can pick it up.
How do they do this?!?! Will leaky apps of course! According to dozens of previously undisclosed classified documents, these leaky apps spew everything from the smartphone identification codes of users to where they have been that day.
According to the documents, provided by Edward Snowden, the former N.S.A. contractor, this started in 2007. Since then, the agencies have traded recipes for grabbing location and planning data when a target uses Google Maps, and for vacuuming up address books, buddy lists, telephone logs and the geographic data embedded in photographs when someone sends a post to the mobile versions of Facebook, Flickr, LinkedIn, Twitter and other Internet services.
The NYT article is a bit unnerving. Here is one of those leaked documents with some of the detail.