By KYW Tech Editor Ian Bush
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The latest revelations from NSA leaker Edward Snowden show that government spies have an eye on smartphone and tablet apps.
The documents show the agency sought to scoop up location information from direction requests on Google Maps and photo uploads to Facebook, Twitter, and the like.
British spooks working in tandem with the National Security Agency call it the “mobile surge”:
“Where they were trying to categorize, collect, and figure out how to use these enormous amounts of data to find out personal information,” says Jeff Larson.
Larson, who reports on the Snowden leak as data editor of the news site ProPublica, says the governments’ grab is enabled, in part, by apps that leak details collected by mobile ad services. Even Angry Birds isn’t immune.
“Some of the things the spies were looking at included details like a user’s political alignment or sexual orientation,” says Larson.
The agency says terrorism suspects, not ‘everyday Americans,’ are profiled, but previous reports have shown just how extensive the incidental data collected on innocents can be.