The Guardian has leaked plenty of information in coordination with Edward Snowden about the NSA’s online spying capabilities, but Spiegel has published some disturbing facts of its own. According to the publication, the NSA is able to pull data from any smartphone running iOS, Android, or BlackBerry OS.
Spiegel says that the NSA can pull a whole host of private data from smartphones, including contacts, text messages, and location information. The individual operating systems are handled by specific groups within the agency too, allowing the governmental body to more effectively target the data held under each system.
The most startling takeaway, however, is that BlackBerry seems to be just as vulnerable to snooping. The Canadian smartphone manufacturer has famously boasted about its security and encryption practises in the past, but that now seems to be irrelevant in the eyes of the NSA. Spiegel says that there were brief periods when the security agency lost access to BlackBerry data, but the UK’s GCHQ was able to tap into the OS once again after BlackBerry changed the way it compressed its data.
The publication contacted BlackBerry for comment regarding its report, but the company said only that it didn’t want to “comment on media reports regarding alleged government surveillance of telecommunications traffic.”