Late Monday three separate media outlets reported on how the NSA snoops on data transmitted from cell phone apps. The New York Times, The Guardian, and ProPublica each covered how apps like Angry Birds, report geo-location, buddy lists, and URLs visited, obviously in clear text, to be hoovered up by the NSA’s taps on global fiber links.
At the same time MSNBC reported on a Signals Development project dubbed Squeaky Dolphin that uses social graphing and data mining of Twitter, Youtube and Facebook to identify targets of interest and further task for collection of meta data to add context. The leaked slides are ominous indications of interest in social manipulation. [Warning for cleared personnel, they are marked Top Secret]
The two stories highlight the extent to which the NSA is taking advantage of the free and open Internet to fill its data warehouses.
In light of these revelations app developers should begin to encrypt all data that their users send to them. Social media giants like Google, Facebook, and Twitter should look for evidence of their APIs being abused by spy agencies and limit their access.