ALARMING REVELATIONS: NSA can monitor Smartphone activity, newspaper says
Germany's Spiegel newspaper says NSA can see contact lists, SMS traffic, notes and location information
Spiegel, the German newspaper and Web site has discovered from official documents of the National Security Agency, or NSA has the capability of tapping user data from the iPhone, devices using Android and BlackBerry. The BlackBerry had previously prided itself on being a highly secure device.
The NSA has succeeded in accessing the BlackBerry mail system, according to the documents, which is known to be very secure.
The NSA has also set up specific working groups to deal with each operating system, with the goal of gaining secret access to the data held on the phones, according to the documents.
Experts quoted in these documents express how confident they are to access iPhone data in instances where the NSA is able to infiltrate the computer a person uses to sync their iPhone. Mini-programs, so-called "scripts," then enable additional access to at least 38 iPhone features.
Intelligence specialists have also reportedly had similar success in hacking into BlackBerrys. A 2009 NSA document states that it can "see and read SMS traffic." The documents state that for a brief period in 2009 when the NSA was temporarily unable to access BlackBerry devices. After the Canadian company acquired another firm the same year, it changed the way in compresses its data.
The department responsible at Britain's GCHQ intelligence agency in March of 2010 declared in a top secret document it had regained access to BlackBerry data and celebrated with the word, "champagne!"
The NSA has succeeded in accessing the BlackBerry mail system, according to the documents, which is known to be very secure. This could mark a huge setback for the company, which has always claimed that its mail system is inviolate.
"It is not for us to comment on media reports regarding alleged government surveillance of telecommunications traffic," BlackBerry officials said to inquiries from Spiegel reporters. The company said it had not programmed a "'back door' pipeline to our platform."
The material viewed by Spiegel suggests that the spying on smart phones has not been a mass phenomenon and has been targeted, in some cases, in an individually tailored manner and without the knowledge of the Smartphone companies.
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