UK newspaper The Guardian recently broke a story that the NSA has been empowered by a secret order issued by the foreign intelligence court directing Verizon Communications, a mobile phone provider with 98.9 million wireless customers to turn over all its call records for a three-month period.
The Washington Post closely followed this article suggesting that the National Security Agency and the FBI are tapping directly into the central servers of nine leading U.S. Internet companies. Code-named PRISM, this program not been made public until now. The nine tech giants said to be colluding with the NSA include Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube, and Apple.
Government legislation outlined in the FISA Bill gave spy agencies the ability to snoop on an individuals electronic communications under the pretext of security protection without the need to show probable cause.
The question has risen to whether your mobile device could be used to snoop on you as most people are never far from their phone in modern times. Considering the devices could show our location, photos, videos, contacts and our communications they really have access to our entire life. These would appear to be a prime target for intelligence agencies.
A representative from DogTown Media, a prominent iPad app developer and application security company gave us the following statement, “Applications running on mobile platforms can NOT be considered secure when the companies that own the operating system and app stores have given the Government access to secretly spy on your phone, tablet and PC activity without ever telling you.”
As a penetration testing company we believe this story is far from over and more will come to light in the following weeks. We understand that the intelligence agencies needs access to some information to ensure national security but should that be access and storage of everyone’s records? With Big Data tools and service becoming more available it definitely seems we could be entering a new age of data intelligence.