NSA Has Direct Access to Smartphone Data, Report Says
Just when it seemed the biggest NSA-related revelations were over, a new report says the U.S. intelligence agency has had direct access to private smartphone data for years.
Germany’s Spiegel Online claims it has seen documents that detail the NSA’s ability to tap into leading smartphone platforms, including Apple’s iOS, Google’s Android and BlackBerry. In fact, based on the documents referenced, the agency has even set up separate teams dedicated to working on each operating system.
The documents also describe the NSA’s ability to access a smartphone’s SMS traffic, notes, location information and contact lists, according to Spiegel. The online news site added, however, that the smartphone access was targeted – in some cases, without the knowledge of smartphone companies – rather than carried out on a mass scale.
The report’s inclusion of BlackBerry will likely be particularly concerning for members of government and high-level executives who deal in corporate secrets. For years, many high-profile users have depended on BlackBerry’ssecurely encrypted messaging system, but these new claims could undermine the company’s long-held status as the most-secure mobile-messaging option on the market.
In response to the report, a BlackBerry spokesperson told Mashable, “It is not for us to comment on media reports regarding alleged government surveillance of telecommunications traffic.
“However, we remain confident in the superiority of BlackBerry’s mobile security platform for customers using our integrated device and enterprise server technology. Our public statements and principles have long underscored that there is no “back door” pipeline to our platform. Our customers can rest assured that BlackBerry mobile security remains the best available solution to protect their mobile communications.”