Leaked slides from an internal presentation reveal that the NSA use the cookies and location data from Google to pinpoint targets for government hacking. The Post explains:
According to the documents, the NSA and its British counterpart, GCHQ, are using the small tracking files or “cookies” that advertising networks place on computers to identify people browsing the Internet. The intelligence agencies have found particular use for a part of a Google-specific tracking mechanism known as the “PREF” cookie. These cookies typically don’t contain personal information, such as someone’s name or e-mail address, but they do contain numeric codes that enable Web sites to uniquely identify a person’s browser.
In addition to tracking Web visits, this cookie allows NSA to single out an individual’s communications among the sea of Internet data in order to send out software that can hack that person’s computer. The slides say the cookies are used to “enable remote exploitation,” although the specific attacks used by the NSA against targets are not addressed in these documents.
It’s not a way of finding suspicious behaviour, then, but a way to home in on someone already under suspicion. Which doesn’t sound as bad as some of the NSA tricks in use, but is still a serious invasion of privacy.
It was previously reported that the NSA is gathering 5 billion records a day on the location of the cell phones across the world. But this tactic of spying has proved to be more successful in finding a mobile user’s location:
Separately, the NSA is also using commercially gathered information to help it locate mobile devices around the world, the documents show. Many smartphone apps running on iPhones and Android devices, and the Apple and Google operating systems themselves, track the location of each device, often without a clear warning to the phone’s owner. This information is more specific than the broader location data the government is collecting from cellular phone networks, as reported by the Post last week.
Israel’s parliament has approved a law which allows illegal immigrants from Africa to be detained for up to a year without trial in the latest in a series of measures aimed at reducing the numbers of African migrants in the country.
The new bill passed by 30 votes in favor to 15 against during a late-night vote in the 120-member Knesset, Israel’s parliament, and was announced Tuesday. A previous law, which was overturned by the Supreme Court in September, had set a maximum detention period of three years.
Supporters of the bill in the government see the migrants as illegal job-seekers, but critics say many of the migrants are asylum-seekers fleeing hardship and persecution in their homelands.