American and British intelligence agencies have reportedly cracked security codes that protect data on iPhones, Blackberry’s and Android devices.
German news magazine, Der Spiegel says it has seen secret documents suggesting that this is part of a joint effort to gather intelligence on potential terrorism threats.
Der Spiegel says its information was that the American National Security Agency (NSA) and Britain’s GCHQ had set up teams for each type of smartphone to work out how to crack the codes meant to protect privacy.
[blockquote] “…NSA and GCHQ had set up teams for each type of smartphone to work out how to crack the codes meant to protect privacy.”[/blockquote] Having succeeded, the agencies could then read a user’s contact list and lists of who had been called.
The documents seen by the magazine do not show whether or not there has been mass surveillance of phone use.
They do seem to indicate that the British and American security agencies have the ability to read private communications, beyond what might have previously been thought possible or desirable by those who fear the intrusion of the states.
The news comes just days after it was revealed that the NSA has secretly developed the ability to break common internet encryption.
Last week, The Guardian, The New York Times and ProPublica reported the US intelligence agency used a variety of means of setting encryption standards.
The media outlets were citing documents from ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
The publications said the NSA and GCHQ reported making strides against Secure Sockets Layer technology.
SSL protects millions of websites beginning in “Https” as well as virtual private networks, which are common for remote office workers and for people seeking to obscure their locations.
US intelligence officials made no immediate comment on the stories.
The Times and ProPublica cited an intelligence document saying the NSA spends more than $274 million a year on its “Sigint Enabling Project,” which “actively engages the US and foreign IT industries to covertly influence or overtly leverage their commercial products’ designs” to make them “exploitable”.