NSA can track smartphone data by breaking through iPhone and Blackberry security measures

Out front: Protesters took to the streets in Berlin on  Saturday in wake of the latest revelations

The NSA is able to crack protective measures  on iPhones, BlackBerry and Android devices, giving it access to users’ data on  all major smartphones, according to a report Sunday in German news weekly Der  Spiegel.

The magazine cited internal documents from  the U.S.’ National Security Agency and its British counterpart GCHQ in which the  agencies describe setting up dedicated teams for each type of phone as part of  their effort to gather intelligence on potential threats such as  terrorists.

The data obtained this way includes contacts,  call lists, SMS traffic, notes and location information, Der Spiegel reported.

The documents don’t indicate that the NSA is  conducting mass surveillance of phone users but rather that these techniques are  used to eavesdrop on specific individuals, the magazine said.

The article doesn’t explain how the magazine  obtained the documents, which are described as ‘secret.’ But one of its authors  is Laura Poitras, an American filmmaker with close contacts to NSA leaker Edward  Snowden who has published several articles about the NSA in Der Spiegel in  recent weeks.

The documents outline how, starting in May  2009, intelligence agents were unable to access some information on BlackBerry  phones for about a year after the Canadian manufacturer began using a new method  to compress the data.

After GCHQ cracked that problem, too,  analysts celebrated their achievement with the word ‘Champagne,’ Der Spiegel  reported.

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